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Nick Moreno

0 · 1,908 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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens 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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Oliver Carver
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If Ryan hadn't invited Oliver over, and subsequently his roommates and Marie, he definitely would have left and spent the night at his dad's place. Cara was eating away at every last ounce of patience he had. Did she think that he wanted to spend his afternoon cooking? That making sure a turkey was cooked enough that it didn't poison all of them, was something that was on his bucket list? He knew nothing about cooking! The two of them had grown up without a mother, with a father who probably didn't know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and with a personal chef. It baffled him that she thought that he somehow knew more about it than her, but then again, this was Cara, and she didn't care about that. If she wanted something done, she expected you to learn a whole new skill set in thirty seconds to accommodate her. Ryan was used to it, but it was still highly irritating.

His laptop was on the counter next to him, so as Chanel and Roman came in and Cara started conversing with, Ryan was busy with the cooking webpage on the screen. He had used it, and a plethora of Youtube videos, to help him figure out what cooking a turkey entailed. It said that he was supposed to let it sit for twenty to thirty minutes before cutting it, but he wasn't going to verbalize that direction to his sister. It would just result in her complaining more, and quite possibly him reaching a point where he really would leave. From the sound of it, Roman was having a bit of fun trying to knock Cara off her pedestal, but Ryan felt like he still had to be there to keep her in line for when Oliver and his friends came over. It would not only be completely rude, but completely mortifying to him too, if she was as insulting as she was being now, when they came over. It was one thing to say things like that to Roman, who RJ felt could handle it, but Oliver, Isaac, Collin and Marie didn't know the bitchy side of Cara well enough where they would realize she was harmless.

To: Oliver
Turkey's out of the oven, should be able to eat in 20-30. Come over with your friends whenever you feel like it! Fair warning - my sister is in a bad mood

He didn't think cutting the turkey would be that hard, when the time came for it, so he closed his laptop down after texting Oliver and headed out of the kitchen, just as Brooklyn and Nick were coming in. Since Oliver wasn't there yet and he wasn't particularly close to Chanel, Brooklyn, Nick or Roman, he considered staying in his room for a while. He was too thoughtful though, and decided that he was better off in the kitchen in case Chanel needed help with any dishes that were left, or in case Cara had another irrational demand for him. He made a quick stop in the bathroom, and then back to his room to spray on cologne for no reason other than because he didn't want to smell like turkey and sweat all night, before returning to the kitchen. When he got there, along with Nick and Brooke, was Makayla and Holly. "Here, let me grab those for you," he said as he took the large plate of cupcakes from Makayla. He didn't know Makayla that well. Cara hung out with Holly a lot, but he was told that was because Makayla was working. The vibes he got from her when she was around were always tired and maybe stressed out ones. It was very different from Holly, who could talk for hours about absolutely nothing, but considering that, it wasn't surprising that someone who had to live with her would tire out easily. He looked to Chanel who had been doing more work than Cara, as he carried the tray from the door to the kitchen's island area. "Where do you want me to leave these?" he asked, momentarily placing them down on the counter behind them. She had been bringing dishes in all afternoon, so he wasn't sure if there was a specific setup in mind, and with his luck that day with his sister, if anything went wrong, she'd find a way to blame it on him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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After a few hours of hanging out in 5B, Isaac, Collin, and Oliver had headed back to their own place, making plans for the rest of the afternoon. Isaac wanted it to include alcohol and possibly some games, but before he got too far into his planning Oliver excitedly announced that Ryan had invited them all to Thanksgiving Dinner. Which was ironic, really, given Isaac's words about the situation not even an hour earlier.

Isaac did not want to go to Cara Forrester's (Probably Disastrous) Thanksgiving Dinner. He'd actually laughed when it was brought up, but the other two were heavily considering, probably craving some feeling of tradition that Isaac didn't have any memories of. He'd scoffed at them both, and then Collin had turned towards him with a grin and said, "But you could make your brownies!"

And, well, Isaac made fucking amazing brownies. And he was high on Adderall, with the pot wearing off he was suddenly itching to do something, and cooking would keep him interested. So he'd grudgingly agreed and spent until five o'clock slaving away in the kitchen. Isaac didn't play when he came to cooking. It was a passion and an art form. Everything was made from scratch, from the brownie mix to the cookie dough to the drizzle on top. He'd make chocolate from scratch if he knew how.

True to the schedual of the day, however, thirty minutes before they were supposed to leave, Collin's parents called. Apparently his uncle was requesting some family time - the more the merrier - and so Collin was welcome to bring his friends as long as they could get in a cab right then.

Honestly, Isaac would be much happier spending his night with the King's than with Cara Forrester (and Brooklyn West, who he was admittedly terrified of). But by that point he had a copious amount of brownies on his hands, and it kind of only felt right to take some over to 5C, because Oliver had promised they wouldn't show up empty handed. So Isaac packed up a batch to send down with Collin and Oliver, and then grabbed a plate himself to take across the hall.

The door to 5C was still open, and while normally Isaac would probably feel nervous approaching it, the pills he was on didn't really let him care so he just leaned over and knocked on the still open door, feeling too weird just walking in. It wasn't his place, anyway. There was a good amount of people already inside, and Isaac wasn't really sure if he should seek out Cara or Ryan...in the end, it didn't matter, because Nick saw him first and made a general motion that meant it was alright for Isaac to cross the threshold. "Hey man," he greeted.

Holly and Makayla were just passed the doorway themselves, which was probably why it had still been open. Brooklyn was talking to the redhead, so Isaac pointedly avoided her gaze and shot Makayla a peace sign. Regardless of having never talked to her before earlier that day, they'd smoked together, she was deserving of the Peace Sign Category of Friendship.

"Just gunna take this plate of pure diabetes to the kitchen," Isaac explained as he held up the brownies, talking to Nick more than anything because he defaulted to the one person in the room he kind of knew.

All the apartments were laid out kind of the same way, so Isaac knew exactly where the kitchen was, and when he made his way through there he finally found the Forresters and Chanel, and was just about to open his mouth and explain he wasn't staying when he caught sight of one more person.

Roman Killens.

Isaac's heart skipped a beat - a feeling which he aggressively shut down as quickly as he could, because he did not have time for that shit. It was just the Adderall anyway, always made his heart go a little funny, skipping a few beats wasn't anything to worry about. Was probably even completely normal, in his state.

It definitely, most certainly, had absolutely nothing to do with a tall, blue-eyed, brown-haired, twenty-one year old wrapped up in a fucking fantastic tattooed package. Nope. No way. Totally did not.

Isaac hated himself sometimes. He really did.

The thing was, normally he could deal with his stupid crush. It wasn't even so much as...an addiction he'd developed, to Roman's presence. As long as he got a fix every so often (which was as simple as seeing the guy in the hallway), Isaac could actually forget how pathetic he was. How fucking bad he had it. And then Killens would peace out for awhile - like, oh say, four days or so - and Isaac could easily convince himself he was fine. Roman who? Killens what? He didn't miss him, of course not. Couldn't even remember what his face looked like, much less care he was gone.

And then the fucker would show back up and it was like the first time Isaac had laid eyes on him all over again. A rush of feelings he really shouldn't be having passed the age of seventeen...or at all, really. He was a mess, and it was ridiculous, and he was actually pretty sure his hands were shaking and he wasn't fucking breathing.

He sighed out a breath and thankfully it came out with a chuckle on the end as he shook his head and focused on putting his plate of brownies down next to the salad...which was, coincidentally, next to Roman. He bumped shoulders the same way he always did with his guy friends and grinned. "Nice seeing you around. Thought you might have died."

His phone vibrated then, and with his now free hands Isaac went ahead and pulled his phone from his pocket. It was a text from Collin, telling him to hurry his ass up. Isaac told himself not to do it, he really did, but then he was already texting back and he couldn't stop himself even though he knew it was a really horrible idea. And honestly, he blamed Roman for it a little.

To: Hey Jude
actually im suddenly not feeling well. nausea. might puke if i ride in a taxi that long. have fun tho!


Oh he was a terrible person. And completely pathetic, but really, neither of those things were new.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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Ever since they had left the building manager's apartment, Makayla had been in a bad mood. It was bad enough for Holly to notice and frown when Makayla rejected her request to carry the cupcakes in. She didn't know what was the matter. Makayla had to help the man with something and Holly got to sit on his couch and watch part of the Good Luck Charlie Thanksgiving episode. The man had seemed happy when he came out of his bedroom with his arm wrapped around Makayla like they were good friends, so it didn't make sense for her sister to be angry or bothered. As they walked across the hall, Holly momentarily sulking over not being able to carry the cupcakes, she decided that Makayla was probably just tired and cranky because of that. She was the one who always told Holly that sleeping would make her feel better, so it probably worked the other way around too.

Unlike Makayla's bad mood, Holly's literally only spanned from the walk from their door to Cara's, because as soon as Brooklyn opened it up, Holly was grinning again. She had gotten used to the smell of all of the food in their apartment, but it smelled even stronger and better in Cara's, and then there was the people. Lots of them, or so it seemed that way in the small apartment. Though the apartment was the same size as her own, Cara's apartment was decorated and designed nicer than any other unit in the building, which always interested Holly. Cara mirrored her apartment in that manner tonight, looking like she was ready to walk down the runway in a little black dress. Before she could address her though, she had Brooklyn to talk to, and Brooklyn actually starting a conversation with her was a big deal, especially when that conversation was founded on a compliment. "Happy Thanksgiving!" she responded first, feeling like it had to be said before she could get into the good stuff. "Thanks! Cara bought it for me when we were shopping. And this scarf is hers, but it's actually mine now because she gave it to me because our necks are the same size." She noticed Brooklyn's cup then and decided that she was thirsty too. Since they had run out of lemonade during breakfast, Holly had to downgrade to water for the rest of the day. Cara always had good drinks, though. Cara always had everything. "What are you drinking?" she asked Brooklyn.

Holly really wasn't that bad, especially when Brooklyn was making an effort to be more relaxed and tolerant of the energy. "Soda, she responded, swishing the drink around in the cup momentarily before she took a sip of it. It was just as much rum as it was soda, but there was no need to tell Holly that. "Do you want to get something to drink? Cara has a lot of choices today," she continued, pointing towards the drink area. She knew she could have ended it at that, both it looked like there was more alcoholic drinks than non-alcoholic ones over there, and she didn't need Holly accidentally pouring vodka into a cup somehow thinking it was Sprite, and her getting blamed for it, so she walked over there with her. "What do you want? I'll pour it," she offered as she set her own cup down.

"Lemonade," was Holly's immediate reaction. It was her go-to drink. She liked Sprite as well, but the carbonation bothered her sometimes. Although Brooklyn had offered to pour for her, Holly was in front of the table looking for herself, only to find that there was no lemonade on the table. "Why doesn't she have lemonade?" she asked with concern. Cara knew that she liked lemonade. What was going to be next? Was she going to say that there wasn't going to be mac & cheese with the turkey too?

"She has Sprite. It's basically the same thing as lemonade. Just have that," Brooklyn suggested, already pouring some of the clear soda into a cup in an attempt to not allow Holly to refuse it.

Holly accepted the cup that Brooklyn handed her but she was still concerned over this. It seemed like a big deal to her, and with a weak objection of, "But I wanted lemonade...", she turned away from Brooklyn to take her problem to the girl who was responsible for it. "Cara!" she exclaimed with urgency as she hurried towards the blonde sitting at the island. "Cara, you forgot to put the lemonade out. Is it in your fridge?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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Roman typically disliked when people brought up his drug use. Usually it was meant as an intervention of sorts, and he immediately shut down. Cara was different though, and that was one of the few and only things she could constantly bring up, and so it didn't really bother him. Sometimes it did, especially if he was high, but to him it just proved she had no reason for being such a bitch. He was certain she thought he was smoking crack and doing meth as religiously as people go to church on Sunday, but that wasn't the case. He'd never done, and didn't plan, on doing any of what he considered the hard core stuff. No heroin or meth--just the party drugs and a few prescription drugs to help with his muscles. Until he started doing the other stuff, he didn't really see himself as having a problem. Still, Cara was right to a point. Not just about him not needing to be there, but hell, it was free food and it was interesting to see what Thanksgiving really was. But she was right about not wanting the night to go to shit the way that it likely would. He didn't want to argue with her all night, but he also didn't really want to hear her mouth. He'd just have to pick and choose his battles as best as he could, and for now, he was done. So he kept quiet once Chanel left, just after Holly and Makayla, and Nick and Brooke had arrived. The group exchanged some words, but he didn't say anything because he didn't really feel the need to. Not only that, but he wasn't entirely sure what to do.

Around people he didn't know, he was actually quite shy and quiet. He went to parties quite a bit, but he was never sober long enough to actually have to worry about the pressure he felt under socializing. His discomfort came in disinterest which fostered itself in silence as he dabbled on his phone. Plus there was the fact that he just didn't know how to act. It was his first Thanksgiving and for some reason, at least in his mind, he was making it out to more important than it probably was to most Americans. He figured it safer to just sit back and follow the crowd, if so not much to make a mistake than to hear it from Cara as soon as he did something unorthodox. Currently, the crowd was in the kitchen just talking, so he'd stay where he was until he started feeling too suffocated. As he stood, part of him wished Ryan didn't invite him, although he did appreciate it. He didn't want to admit it, but it probably would have been far more awkward to have no where to go and have to sit in the apartment while everyone feasted in front of him.

Roman had hardly noticed the person standing beside him until he was nudged. When he looked over, he saw it was Isaac. He wasn't sure why he was surprised, since he knew Isaac was invited as well. Perhaps it was just the strangeness of seeing actually in Cara's apartment. Seemed like a sort of fusion of alternate universes. It was usually Roman going to Isaac's apartment to get out of his own. Roman smirked in response, glad to see him since Isaac was a pretty chill dude. Killens doubted he was taking the dinner too seriously. "Yeah," he said with an amused exhale. "But don't hold your breath. Still have to make it through this thing." Killens glanced down at what Isaac had just sat down in front of the salad bowl Chanel had brought. The place already smelled quite amazing, but Roman had quite the sweet tooth, so seeing the delicious looking brownies in front of him only made his mouth water, and it even brought a small smile to his face. "Shit. Did you make those?" It was a stupid question. Roman knew that Isaac could cook, which was admirable considering Roman himself only put in enough effort when it came to his feed to keep him from starving. There was no way in hell he could make something like what was before him. "Hell yeah," Isaac said with a grin. "Fuckin' A, right?" Roman nodded, glancing at him before looking back at the brownies. "Yeah. They look great," he said. For some reason, and almost as if out of no where, he was very nervous. A wave of jitters hit him. Roman opened his mouth to make some dry joke about how awkward this all was, but he'd only got a breath out before Chanel appeared, her hands on Isaac's shoulder and eyes wide in amazement at the brownies. She wore a large smile, clearly twice as impressed with the brownies as Roman. He didn't have much opinion on the girl. She seemed nice enough, but he did have to question some things about her, considering the company she kept--namely Cara. If he knew one thing, he knew that the girl could talk. With an amused and borderline apologetic glance at Isaac, he slid away from the two, avoiding the vacuum or conversation best he could and retreating to the living room where there was much more space, and much less people.





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Chanel made sure to hurry as she went out to get the banana pudding, if not by Cara's request at her quickness, than because she really wasn't sure if Roman and the girl could survive on their own without going at each other. She didn't really have a reason to dislike Roman per say. It was just one of those things where someone rubs you the wrong way. She had a tendency to validate her injustifications through Cara's dislike for the guy, but that still didn't change the fact that he'd never really done anything to her. It might have been his aesthetic, the way he carried him, the stuffy London accent and how he pronounced 'th-' as an F sound. Surely, none of these were the reasons why, and even if they were, it wouldn't have helped her case any. Of course, since she was working towards being a better person, she felt kind of bad for automatically feeling this way towards him, and so was typically a bit more friendly around him than she normally would try to be with others, as if to over-compensate. It was just a lot harder with him since he seemed to shut down immediately once she started talking to him. That'd have to change tonight, though, she reasoned. After everyone got some alcohol in them, it'd be a lot much easier to socialize. Normally she wouldn't care so much, but it was off-putting for someone not to receive her as openly as she was used to. For now, though, she needed to focus on the banana pudding. So as she left, she quickly greeted Holly and Makayla coming in and hurried back. She'd just set that pudding and her sauce on the counter when Ryan came over with the tray of cupcakes that Holly and Makayla had brought. "Hey!" she exclaimed. "Happy Thanksgiving. Yeah, here, give those to me and I'll just put them on a plate or something. Thanks, Ryan. Let me know if you need help with anything else."

After taking the cupcakes and placing them in front of the pudding, she went through the cabinets, looking for a plate that was large enough to fit all the cupcakes on them. When she found what she needed, she carefully placed the cupcakes around the rim of the plate until they were fit on the dish. She looked at it for a minute, shrugging internally. She was now wishing her and Cara had gotten some kind of cupcake display where they were at, but it was whatever now. She turned around to observe the scene. Everyone was chatting and everything seemed to be going okay. She'd have to check in on Cara in a second, but first she needed to figure out how exactly they were doing this. Perhaps the main dishes on the island counter and the deserts on the other side? Was this buffer style or were they putting everything on the table? Just as she was about to go ask Ryan, she noticed Isaac talking to Roman. She wasn't sure why, but she really did like Isaac. Him hanging with Roman wasn't that great, but it was no matter. She went over excitedly and greeted him with a large smile. "Isaac, hey! I'm so glad you made it. Oh, my god," she said upon seeing the brownies. "Did you make these? Holy shit. They look amazing! How long did this take you?"

Just after asking him, she realized that she'd gotten distracted and would need to find Ryan asap, and then give Cara a quick pep talk, just in case. Once they finished talking, she gave his shoulder a quick squeeze. "That's seriously the best thing I've seen. Do you mind if I put these over with the other desserts?" she said, already reaching for them. "We'll talk later, okay?" Without waiting for an answer, she put the dessert with the pudding and the cupcakes. Upon finding Ryan, she touched his shoulder. She had a tendency to be very touch-y. It probably made some people uncomfortable, but she did it before realizing that she shouldn't, and sometimes she didn't even recognize it, like now. "Hey," she said, giving him a slight squeeze. "You okay? So, how did you want to do this? Do you want to put everything on the counters for people to put on their plates and then just take to the table, or should we try squishing things all on the kitchen table?"

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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Cara was definitely less demanding to her friends than she was her family, but Ryan still wasn't sure how Chanel handled being friends with her. Her nature seemed too good to be mixed with Cara's so easily, but then again, compared to Cara, anyone could seem like Mother Teresa. Regardless, her friendly and welcoming ways put Ryan at ease a little bit. His sister could be as negative as she wanted to be, throwing a pity party for herself over nothing, but at least everyone wasn't in a horrible moo. It made him feel guilty for allowing his own mood to be soured and he tried to perk up as he thanked her for the help. Until the turkey was ready, there wasn't much to do. He considered sneaking back off to his room and actually staying there this time when he got a text from Oliver. Apparently, he and Collin were on their way to Collin's family's house. Something had come up last minute where their plans changed and he had forgotten to text Ryan to tell him. He apologized and said that he thought Marie and Isaac were still going to come, and just as Ryan finished responding with a "no problem. Have fun" text, Isaac appeared carrying a tray of brownies.

"You can stop sulking now," Ryan said as he neared Cara. "It's only going to be him as your unwanted guest. Collin, Marie and Oliver have other plans." He doubted it would do much good. Collin and Oliver were the two that Cara probably approved of most. At least compared to Isaac. Still, he felt like it was worth mentioning. "And it looks like Holly's excited about that scarf dad gave you last Christmas," he added, trying to lift the mood further as he watched Holly talk to Brooklyn. "Plus, the turkey should be good to cut any minute now, so there's that too." he didn't know why he cared enough to try to lift her mood when she had been selfish all day, but it was just a part of his character at this point. Overly considerate, with no way to keep himself from being that way. Without another word, he headed back towards the stove and a minute later Chanel caught him off guard with a squeeze to the shoulder. "Yeah, yeah, everything looks and smells really good," he nodded. "Uh, it's your call on that. Leaving everything up here will probably be easier, but it's whatever you think will work best. The table only seats six, so you and Cara and maybe Holly and Makayla and two other people should sit there, and the rest of us can just sit at the island or on the couch or something," he offered I surely. Cara had tried to make it seem like this was his party once she didn't get her way with the guest list, but he wanted as little responsibility as possible with it.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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When Ryan told her that Isaac was the only person who hadn't originally been invited who was coming, Cara knew that she needed to stop complaining, but part of her had wanted the other three to show up, just so she had something to complain about. So that when something went wrong, she could turn to Ryan with rage in her eyes and blame the whole failure on him. She could still do that since Roman definitely counted as an additional unwanted being on top of Isaac, but three less people took the emphasis out of it, really. Now, all she had to hold onto was that it was even ruder for them to not show up last minute because for all they knew, they had spent tons of extra money planning on those three extra bodies being there. Cara wanted to say that to Ryan and really considered doing it when Chanel was out of the apartment, but she held her tongue, or more accurately, kept her wine glass pressed to her lips so she couldn't open them to speak.

If for no other reason, she knew that she had to cheer up because Holly was there now and she really did want to make this fun for the girl. She had seemed excited about it ever since Cara had mentioned it to Makayla, and the idea of being the host of someone's very first real Thanksgiving made her feel like the job of hostess was more important than it seemed. Holly was usually easy to please and with the assortment of baked goods she had delivered, on top of the cupcakes that Cara saw Makayla give to Ryan, she was sure Holly would have a good night too. Cara would have considered the brownies that she saw Chanel take from Isaac to count as a possible treat to delight Holly too, but there was no way that Cara was going to let anyone she cared about consume those. It didn't matter how good they looked. The last thing that she needed on top of everything that had went wrong today was for Holly to die of a drug overdose because that creep had thought it would be funny to put pot and other drugs into the desserts. Roman could definitely finish those off on his own with Isaac without Cara trying to stop him.

For a few minutes, she did sulk like Ryan had made fun of her for doing. This wasn't how she wanted to be spending her holiday. It was a holiday that emphasized feeling grateful, and she had a lot to be grateful for. She had an apartment that was nice enough and definitely more than most people had, that was filled with nice people (and Roman and Isaac) and tons of food. She had her health, she had great friends outside of this apartment, a father who was healthy and supported her beyond normal means, and a life where she would absolutely never be subjected to destitution or even the stress of having to work to pay bills. Cara was immensely lucky and privileged and she had a ton to be thankful for, but all she could think about was the things she didn't have. Watching Holly interact with Brooklyn, and the huge smile on Chanel's face as she talked to everyone, reminded her of what the holiday was about but it was still hard for her to change her persona suddenly like that. When Holly approached her, Cara smiled, not even noticing the despaired look on the girl's face until she was right in front of her. "Lemonade?" she repeated, setting her empty wine glass down on the island as she stood from her chair. "I don't know if we have any lemonade," she responded, lacking certainty. With everything they had purchased today, it was just her luck that she would forget something that was a staple for Holly. For someone who spent a lot of time with the girl, Cara wanted to slap herself in the face for forgetting. She led Holly over to the refrigerator to check it out herself, and found that her fears were right, and they hadn't gotten the beverage. "Ryan must have forgotten to get it when I told him to," Cara said, inaccurately blaming her brother for the mistake, but doing so loudly enough where she was aware he could hear from where he stood a foot or two away with Chanel. She was throwing him under the bus, but in her defense, her voice was lighter and more playful now. If Ryan was bothered by it, she would just tell him that she was obviously joking. "Do you want me to ask one of the boys to go get you some from the little convenience store around the block?" she continued. Maybe it was because she was standing by the oven that had only been turned off a few minutes ago, but the apartment was starting to feel hot and stuffy, and she wouldn't mind losing a body and quelling Holly's whining in one move.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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After Brooklyn let them in, Ryan took the plate of cupcakes from her. He was a nice kid, someone who acted like he had been raised by a different set of parents than Cara sometimes, and his help was appreciated, but she was glad that he just took the plate and didn't try to stay and chat. He didn't know him like that and her general state of being right now wasn't one that was going to humor small talk with anyone, nonetheless someone who she was sure she had virtually nothing in common with. She was in such a bad mood that she couldn't even bring herself to be polite and exchange pleasantries with the hostess before she went straight for the liquor that was sitting in the kitchen. She filled a glass with Jack Daniels and a splash of Coke, and found herself chatting with Nick for a couple of minutes as everyone got settled in. Isaac came in during that time, and Holly was still talking with Brooklyn, but Makayla wasn't paying anyone much mind. Even her conversation Nick, who she was friends with, consisted with little more than her nodding and adding a "yeah" or "wow" here and there as he thanked her for letting them use their apartment later, she thanked him for the free weed, and he explained what he and Brooklyn had planned for the night. She was present in the conversation physically, but mentally, not so much. She didn't know if he caught onto that or if his interests just switched, but a few minutes into their conversation, he excused himself to go talk to Roman who had passed them to go to the living room, and she readily allowed the conversation to die.

Oh, how she wanted to slip away into the bathroom or one of the back bedrooms and just shut her eyes and relax for a few minutes. Or head back to her own apartment and actually go to sleep for the night. Or week. She was drained physically, mentally and emotionally, and when a night of free food and alcohol wasn't able to lift her mood, she knew she was in trouble. She couldn't escape the party tonight. Not with Holly so excited to be there, and so... Hollyish. It wasn't like she was a normal sixteen year old girl who could spend the night alone in this apartment and come back to theirs in a few hours with no problem. Makayla had to be here to make sure that she wasn't bothering everyone else and being intrusive... like she was being right now. Makayla caught the tail end of Holly asking Cara where her lemonade was, and once the duo reached the fridge, Makayla walked over. She caught Cara telling Holly that she didn't have any and that she could send one of the boys out to get some for her, and Makayla wasn't going to have that. Not only would she feel compelled to give Cara money she didn't have to cover the cost of the lemonade that only Holly would drink, but Holly would survive on the million other beverage choices that Cara had. Holly and her had come from very little, and although spoiled wasn't a word she felt right using with Holly, she did feel like Holly had a good life at this point. As good as she was going to get, at least. Makayla did her best to get Holly everything she needed, and as many things as she wanted too, and additionally, Holly honestly was blessed to have Cara in her life because the blonde never thought twice about indulging in Holly's petty little wants. Like the sweater she was wearing, that Makayla was sure would end up stained or tossed aside for feeling too itchy after tonight, or even the lemonade. It wasn't a huge deal, but Makayla knew that Holly was a reflection of her, and she wasn't going to sit here letting it look like she was raising a child that would throw a fit over not having a fucking glass of lemonade. Not at sixteen years old, and especially not when at her age, Makayla was taking care of Holly and other kids she had no relation to, working a job, and worrying about a lot more important shit than lemonade. And on top of all of that... she was in a bad mood. Her patience was nonexistent at this point and she had warned Holly that she wasn't going to deal with any brattiness tonight.

"Nah, absolutely not," Makayla cut in. She looked at Cara and forced her best appreciative smile onto her face. "I appreciate it, Cara, but she's gonna survive on the many other options you have here. No one's going out in the cold for anything for you, Holly. Not when you're already lucky that Cara invited us here in the first place. Bring that lemonade up one more time, and so help me, God, you will spend the rest of this night in your room not saying a word." She wasn't being loud, mostly because she didn't have the energy to raise her voice, but she was being serious. She didn't have it in her to be consistently trying to keep Holly on a leash tonight. They were already here, so Makayla knew it was worth it to stay and eat, but if this child kept pushing, Makayla was at a point where she wouldn't have any shame in taking a cup and a plate to go and eating it in their own empty apartment.

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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He decided that he definitely hadn't been imagining things over the past few weeks when he thought that Brooke had been acting unusually soft when she not only willingly answered the door, but actually stayed over there to talk to Holly for a few minutes. And was he crazy, or had she really initiated the conversation without waiting for Holly to do so? It was something he should have been happy about, but he was sure that he had noticed the change a week or so after he had slept with Cara, and the correlation of those events made him feel uneasy. Logically, one thing didn't point to the other. If anything, it made more sense to conclude that Brooklyn might have been affected by the fight that had spurred him cheating, and that was why she was making an effort to be a nicer person. It made more sense than the idea that she somehow knew, because even if she did know, why would she start acting nice? Brooklyn was the kind of girl who seemed like if she found out you had cheated on her, she would tie you down to a bed, stab you, douse you in gasoline and set the bed on fire. Really. Nick loved her, and he loved her crazy bitch side too, but her suddenly growing nicer with the knowledge of him cheating on her just made no sense. He decided, as he worked all of that out in his head, that he really was just being crazy and paranoid, and he vowed to lighten up over it. He didn't want to start drinking yet, even though he noticed Cara had picked up a ton of liquor and some decent beer and wine too, and instead, spent a few minutes talking to Makayla. She seemed out of it but she was always a quiet girl so it didn't seem that uncharacteristic where he felt like he needed to ask her if anything was wrong.

A few minutes into the conversation, he noticed Roman separating himself from the mass in the kitchen and heading into the living room, and he decided to do the same. He excused himself from his conversation with Makayla and a moment later, was sitting next to Roman on the couch. "Mind if I put on the game?" he asked Roman, taking the remote without waiting for the answer and flipping to the Cowboys v. Panthers football game that was on. Nick honestly wasn't a big sports guy. He was into baseball more than any other sport, because it had been the one his grandfather had really followed growing up, but he could follow most sports enough to a point where they would interest him more than some sitcom or reality television show. With football, he really only followed The Giants and 49ers, but growing up, his grandfather rooted for The Packers, so if Brooklyn decided that she didn't want to do the movies later, he would probably tune in to that game too. "I never asked you what happened earlier," he said, remembering a moment after sitting down that Roman had bailed on the smoking invitation. "You never showed up to Makayla's."

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Roman watched with momentary interest at the game before him. He didn't really understood American football. There were a couple of times he'd seen it in university, like during the Superbowl, but he hadn't paid much attention to it then, and now wasn't very much different. Nick wasn't that into sports, so it did strike him as odd, but mostly because he expected the guy to be with Brooke most of the night. It wasn't like they were a couple conjoined at the hips or anything. Knowing how Brooke could be, especially when she was drinking, and from the looks of it she was getting a head start, it would make sense to want some distance. The two of them did seem to be getting along rather well actually. It was a good thing, and he tried reminding himself of it, but it was still quite an odd thing to say. Roman watched the tv screen with a blase attitude as he spoke. "Oh, yeah," he said. "I pissed Brooke off and wasn't in the mood to socialize anymore. I was kind of taking a while anyway, so." And without finishing, he just shrugged. He'd almost forgotten about smoking earlier and was kind of wishing that he had gone. "I was fucking exhausted. Still am. We'll just smoke later or whatever."

He looked over to Nick and smirked, giving him a slight punch. "You look fit," he said, referring to Nick's attire. It wasn't the dressiest ensemble--most of the people in attendance were dressed rather casually. All except for Cara, but that didn't need explanation or surprise--but Killens still thought he looked nice. Roman himself wasn't wearing anything special, partially because he didn't own anything formal enough, and even more because he didn't care enough to. At first he was nervous that the dinner was going to be very formal, but he was glad when he saw that it wasn't. He was just wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, and trainers; nothing extravagant at all. "Now what exactly do you do?" Roman said, meaning Thanksgiving dinner. When he realized he was being kind of general, he gestured around the area to clarify. "Do you just sit and eat, sing songs? I'm just not trying to fuck up and have Cara running her mouth about how I'm ruining this." While that wasn't entirely a lie, it wasn't the complete truth. He didn't want to embarrass himself and would feel a lot better if he at least knew how things went. So far it had been pretty casual, but that didn't necessarily mean anything. "And what's this all for? Like what are you celebrating?" He stretched his legs out and yawned loudly. A wave of heat hit him and he rubbed his face in frustration. "Fucking Christ it's hot in here," he whined. He was probably making a big deal of nothing, but to him, the smallest things could be the greatest annoyances. "Are you and Brooke still going to the cinema?"

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Roman watched with momentary interest at the game before him. He didn't really understood American football. There were a couple of times he'd seen it in university, like during the Superbowl, but he hadn't paid much attention to it then, and now wasn't very much different. Nick wasn't that into sports, so it did strike him as odd, but mostly because he expected the guy to be with Brooke most of the night. It wasn't like they were a couple conjoined at the hips or anything. Knowing how Brooke could be, especially when she was drinking, and from the looks of it she was getting a head start, it would make sense to want some distance. The two of them did seem to be getting along rather well actually. It was a good thing, and he tried reminding himself of it, but it was still quite an odd thing to say. Roman watched the tv screen with a blase attitude as he spoke. "Oh, yeah," he said. "I pissed Brooke off and wasn't in the mood to socialize anymore. I was kind of take a while anyway, so." And without finishing, he just shrugged. He'd almost forgotten about smoking earlier and was kind of wishing that he had gone. "I was fucking exhausted. Still am. We'll just smoke later or whatever."

He looked over to Nick and smirked, giving him a slight punch. "You look fit," he said, referring to Nick's attire. It wasn't the dressiest ensemble--most of the people in attendance were dressed rather casually. All except for Cara, but that didn't need explanation or surprise--but Killens still thought he looked nice. Roman himself wasn't wearing anything special, partially because he didn't own anything formal enough, and even more because he didn't care enough to. At first he was nervous that the dinner was going to be very formal, but he was glad when he saw that it wasn't. He was just wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, and trainers; nothing extravagant at all. "Now what exactly do you do?" Roman said, meaning Thanksgiving dinner. When he realized he was being kind of general, he gestured around the area to clarify. "Do you just sit and eat, sing songs? I'm just not trying to fuck up and have Cara running her mouth about how I'm ruining this." While that wasn't entirely a lie, it wasn't the complete truth. He didn't want to embarrass himself and would feel a lot better if he at least knew how things went. So far it had been pretty casual, but that didn't necessarily mean anything. "And what's this all for? Like what are you celebrating?" He stretched his legs out and yawned loudly. A wave of heat hit him and he rubbed his face in frustration. "Fucking Christ it's hot in here," he whined. He was probably making a big deal of nothing, but to him, the smallest things could be the greatest annoyances. "Are you and Brooke still going to the cinema?"

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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Before Holly had a moment to feel relieved that while Cara didn't have lemonade, someone would go get it, Makayla jumped into the conversation and shut the idea down. Makayla had a saint's level of patience when it came to taking care of Holly most days, but that only meant that when she did snap on her like this, it made Holly more upset because she wasn't used to it. Plus, Holly was sensitive to begin with. She wanted to start crying and tell Makayla that she was being mean but just meeting her sister's gaze for a moment reminded her that Makayla would probably act on shutting this night down if she were to be dramatic and cause a scene. Still... she wanted her lemonade. Holly had a tendency to obsess over somethings. It wasn't like lemonade was the only thing she ever drank, and the Sprite in her hand would definitely suffice, but it made it harder to just let the subject go since Cara had said, without a second thought, that it could be gotten for her. She wasn't trying to be petulant or unruly, she just didn't understand why Makayla was in such a bad mood. Being tired never made her this angry for no reason. "But Cara said the boys will get it..." Holly tried to reason, using her free hand to latch onto Makayla's, partially because it was just in her nature to want to touch people she was talking to, but also to make sure that her sister couldn't use the hand to smack her with in case that counted as bringing it up again.

Makayla was putting in more effort than she thought she had to not just grab Holly right there and drag her back to their apartment. Her reactions were already probably sounding dramatic for her, since she was usually good at tolerating Holly's behavior, but she didn't have it in her. It would have been easy to just let it all go, tell Cara that she appreciated it and let Ryan or whoever run to the store to shut Holly up for the night. She still felt like she should have done that, but when she felt like she was losing control of every other aspect in her life, including control over her own body, she needed to at least reassure herself that all of that had been worth it, because Holly would act right. When it came down to it, Makayla was convinced that she would never have needed to turn to prostitution if she hadn't accepted guardianship of Holly. She would have graduated college, had a real, decent job, and would have been living a normal person's life. But no, she sacrificed for the greater good, and for once, she would demand that be appreciated and respected by the girl she was giving her life up for. "I said no. Now move," she said, shaking her hand free of Holly and nudging the girl away from the fridge. "Leave Cara alone, okay? You need to calm down and stop complaining about things before you get yourself into trouble, 'cause I told you already, I'm not playing tonight, Holly."

With a hand pressed to Holly's back, she led her into the living room where Roman and Nick sat. Aside from the couch, there was a chair that offered a few to the television, and Makayla guided Holly into it. "You sit here, you keep your mouth shut, and you wait until I get back. You bother them, you bring that lemonade up one more time, or you get up, and we're going home, you hear me? I'm going to be right back." She made an attempt to speak softly, not wanting to make a scene, yet made sure that her finger was wagging like a mother scolding a child just an inch from the redhead's face to get her point across. She thought she was going to be able to handle the night on just alcohol, but it wasn't going to happen. Across the hall, tucked into the bottom of one of her dresser drawers were a couple of pills that she kept as "just in case" drugs, for when she really, really needed them, and tonight had earned her one of them. She felt like she should have said something to Cara about running out, or even Chanel, but she didn't. She didn't even glance over at Nick and Roman before leaving the apartment.

Now, even more than before, Holly felt like crying because Makayla was definitely being mean to her for no reason. The way that Makayla had demanded that she not get up made her struggle more than she normally would have, as she turned her head back to look towards Cara, and then turned it back. She wouldn't get up, but it would have been impossible for her to sit there silently like Makayla had also demanded she do. "Why are you watching football?" she asked, her voice only a little less enthusiastic than usual as she slid forward so that she was just barely sitting on the edge of the chair.

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Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Nick nodded at Roman's explanation. It made sense and wasn't a big deal anyway. Smoking had been good, but after it was all said and done, he always regretted being a generous dealer. Sometimes it was worth it, because every now and then he actually craved the company when smoking, so shelling out the drug was compensation for someone else being there, but most of the time, he regretted it. Not to an extent where he would stop doing it, but to an extent where he felt like his wallet was lighter because of it. Had he just sold the weed to Makayla and Isaac, he would have been twenty dollars richer and for someone who didn't make a ton of money, twenty dollars made a difference. "Yeah, I'm right there with you, bro," he then responded, addressing Roman's last remark about being exhausted. If this was a perfect world and Nick had a say in his night's plans, after gobbling down three servings of food with a few crisp, cold beers, he would be go and pass out in bed for the night. The James Bond movie looked good, and he definitely was glad that Brooke was okay with seeing that over some ultra-sappy love movie, but he wasn't really in the mood to have to go out in the cold and blow money on movie tickets, concession snacks and cabs. He knew he couldn't complain, considering that he had been willing to shell out hundreds of dollars on a hotel hours before, but now that he saw that being here for Cara's wasn't horrible, he didn't feel the need to escape as badly.

He only laughed when Roman brought up his outfit, somewhat glad that someone appreciated it, but also not the kind of guy who relished in attention. Nick turned to look back at the game, momentarily looking in Roman's direction as he started asking questions about the holiday, commented on how hot it was, and asked about he and Brooke's movie plans. Nick could agree that it was getting a little hot in there. He assumed that it was probably just because the oven had been running all day, but having four more bodies in the apartment than usual didn't help. Plus, it was really a rare occasion when the five actual occupants of the apartment were all in it at once, so that only made it seem more crowded. He answered the questions in reverse order, mostly because the last one took less thought than the first. "I think we are. I'm gonna ask her again after dinner, but I think she was talking about an eight thirty movie or some time around then." He leaned forward a bit before answering the next. "Really, dude? You don't know what Thanksgiving's about? Come on, you're the one who's supposed to be smart here. Dissect the fucking word and take a guess," He smirked and his tone was playful too as he made fun of Roman for it. "But, uh, when I used to celebrate with my grandparents and family and all, it wasn't that deep. Our apartment was smaller than this one so it was kind of just like you took a plate of food and ate it wherever you could find a seat, but maybe with people like them, it is more formal. I don't know, I don't think we're all gonna fit at that table anyway, so you and Brooke and I could always sit at the island, or even over here." Nick's memories of the holidays were good ones. He was raised by his grandparents, so he didn't have a completely traditional family, but he grew up happy, for the most part. Like Roman had pointed out, though, Cara and Ryan probably celebrated the holiday in a much more formal and organized way, and he was right in the fact that the blonde would definitely grill Roman, of all people, for doing something that differed from her own traditions.

He leaned back on the couch then, watching Makayla and Holly approach from the kitchen. Makayla still looked a little out of it, and Nick was surprised by how sharp she addressed Holly when she sat down in a chair adjacent to them. He looked at Roman and raised his eyebrows, as if saying "yikes", before glancing back at the television so to act as if he hadn't noticed anything. When Makayla walked a way a few seconds later and Holly spoke up, he tried to be a little bit more friendly, since she seemed more quiet as well. "Eh, we're not really paying much attention to it," he admitted, as he reached behind himself, and then in between the cushions to find the remote. "Want me to put on something else? What channels do you normally watch?" Before he could switch the channel, Chanel announced that the food was ready, and Nick jumped up. The smell of the food had been taunting him afternoon, so it went without saying that he was going to be first on line to fill his plate. "Finally," he grinned, taking a few steps away from the couch before looking towards Holly. "Come make a plate, Holly. The food smells good." Luckily, the apartment was small enough where he was able to locate Brooklyn on his way towards the area where all of the food was set up, so he didn't have to waste time in finding her when he could have been stuffing his face. There was enough food lining the counters that he didn't feel greedy lining his plate with turkey and mashed potatoes, a roll, and a scoop of just about everything else. He poured himself a Jack and Coke before looking towards Brooklyn. "Wanna sit over here at the island? There's nine of us and only six seats at the table, so..." He didn't finish the sentence, knowing it was self-explanatory. Sitting at the table wouldn't have been a huge deal, but Nick didn't want to chance sitting next to or across from Cara. Looking at his plate, he didn't think anything but that could ruin this meal.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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When Holly decided that she couldn't settle for Sprite instead of lemonade, Brooklyn let her run over to Cara with the problem but didn't follow. Makayla was around, and even if she hadn't been, Brooklyn didn't feel like she had to persuade Holly into drinking what was there. Especially not when Cara was the girl who took Cara of Holly regularly. She could handle it, and Brooklyn could still say that she had been a good person by reaching out to Holly in the first place. If anything, she was lucky that Holly was suddenly obsessed with lemonade because her running off meant that Brooklyn was able to get out of that conversation earlier than she would have been, had Holly immediately accepted the Sprite as an alternative.

She remained by the drink area for a minute more, making the excuse in her mind, that while she was standing right there, she might as well finish the first drink and refill it, just for convenience purposes, of course. She watched as Makayla and Nick's conversation ended across the room, as Makayla headed towards Holly and Nick towards the living room area, and then Chanel and Ryan's conversation ended too, with Chanel passing by her to leave the apartment a moment later. Isaac stood on the opposite side of the island that Cara sat at, with him seeming focused on his phone, and her seeming focused on her glass of while. When Brooklyn had first met Cara, she had actually liked her. She was a pretty girl, and Brooke was shallow enough to take those things into account when deciding whether or not someone was worthy of her time. She had money too, which was a good thing. Sometimes, she felt reasonably intimidated by people like that, with money. At first, she had not felt that way with Cara because she seemed too dumb to really be a threat. Too caught up in her own world, too self-absorbed to really be taken seriously. Within the weeks following her receiving knowledge of the hookup between her and Nick, Brooklyn realized that she had underestimated Cara, and maybe her money was something she underestimated too. Maybe that was one more thing that attracted Nick to her. Brooklyn made good money as a stripper, but the term good money only worked when comparing it to other jobs she was qualified, like retail or food service ones. What she made didn't compare to the money that Cara's father poured into his daughter's bank account, and since money was something that she and Nick always fought about, maybe he saw Cara as a girl who had everything Brooklyn had physically plus the reassurance that he would never have to worry or be responsible for money. A part of her couldn't blame him for that, but she wanted to blame Cara for that and everything else.

With everyone doing their own things for the moment, Brooklyn was able to slip back to her bedroom without attracting too much notice. She still couldn't say she was tired after that mid-day nap, but she was feeling unenthusiastic and just uninterested. Earlier, there was a possibility that she could use this dinner to gauge whatever it was that was present between Nick and Cara, but now she wondered whether she really wanted to know or not. If she sat down at that dinner table and caught the two exchanging glances or playing with each other's legs under the table, what was she going to do? She had to do something. Brooklyn couldn't sit there like that, and claim to be a prideful person without doing anything, but what would she do? What could she do? Break up with him and tell him to leave the apartment? The only reason why they lived there was because Nick had known Cara, so if anything, she would be the one to leave. And that would mean that Roman would likely be kicked out too, because every person in this apartment had to know that Cara would take any opportunity she could find to get rid of him. Brooklyn would tell you that she didn't feel responsible for Roman and his whereabouts, and she really didn't in a motherly way, but just as a friend, she didn't want to be responsible for him losing shelter. Not when he had actually done a good job at having his share of the rent ready every month. The two of them could probably afford a one bedroom or studio apartment in the city, but being approved for an apartment in Manhattan wasn't as easy as it seemed. With no references, poor credit, and the need for an apartment right away, their options would be very limited.

She felt like she had been staring into her mirror for a good hour, despite it only being a minute or two, before she looked away and left the room. She returned to the kitchen just in time to hear Chanel announcing that it was time to eat, and although she hadn't eaten since her pizza with Nick, she suddenly wasn't very hungry. It was free food, so she knew that she wouldn't forgive herself for not making a plate and made her way to the counters lined with food. Taking a plate, she added some turkey, salad and a roll to it as Nick caught up to her and asked about their seating arrangements. "Mhmm, that works," she answered minimally and quietly as she took a seat on one of the end chairs of the island.

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Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Holly had an answer for Nick, when he offered to change the football game to something that suited her better, but Chanel's voice rang out before she could answer him. She wanted to ask him why she was talking about sins too, but before she could ask that, he stood up and said she should come and get ready to eat too. She wanted to, and momentarily forgot about the only reason why she had been sitting down in the first place. "Okay!" she responded, but a second after getting up, she sat back down. Makayla had seemed serious, and her bad mood had seemed equally serious. Holly didn't want to have to spend the rest of the night in their apartment, knowing everyone else over here was having fun. Plus, that definitely would mean that she wasn't going to get to have one (or five) of the cupcakes she made. "Actually, Makayla wants me to wait for her here," she explained, longingly glancing back in the direction of the front of the apartment. She didn't know where her sister had went or what was taking so long, since now, every second that passed by with her sitting in front of the television alone, felt like an hour.

When the boys had left the living room, Holly glanced over her shoulder, making sure Makayla wasn't there, before getting up, taking the remote, and sitting back down. If she was going to have to sit there and wait for Makayla while the smell of food and more-so, the knowledge that people were talking and socializing without her, was taunting her, she at least deserved to put on a television show that she liked. She pressed the arrows on the remote until she came across Ratatouille on ABC Family and stopped. She had never seen the movie before but recognized it as being a Disney movie, and even if she hadn't recognized it, a talking rat who doubled as a chef was definitely a movie that was right up her alley. Despite still wanting to get up and talk to everyone else who were making their plates, she remained in her seat and focused on the movie. With the sound of that, on top of everyone's chatter, and her not being positioned that close to the door, she didn't hear the knocking. Had she heard it, she would have pulled her eyes from the television to look over, in hopes that it was her sister.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West
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Brooklyn agreed to sitting at the island, so Nick followed her there and sat down besides her. "I bet this is gonna taste even better than it looks," he commented, mostly to himself, before digging into the food. When he was growing up, the only formality that they had before eating was that they would say grace before anyone was allowed to eat from their plates. Looking around, it didn't seem like anything like that was going to happen. Holly was still sitting by the television which meant that Makayla wasn't back yet, Chanel was by the door, Isaac was headed in that direction, Ryan was sitting at the table and Cara was preparing a plate. Everyone seemed to be doing their own thing, and that seemed like the best direction the dinner could have went in. One bite into the meal, and he had to take a moment to follow up his first comment with, "Yup. I was right. Try the turkey. I didn't even need to put this much gravy on, that's how juicy and flavorful it is on its own."

Brooklyn only answered with a nod, but Nick didn't think it was anything he needed to be concerned with because like him, her mouth was full of food too. He didn't mind silence to begin with, but silence that was brought on because his mouth was stuffed with delicious homemade (and free!) food was even better. Two or three minutes passed and Chanel was back inside the apartment, but Isaac had left in her place. Someone had been at the door, apparently, but Nick wasn't too concerned as to who it was. Really, it was hard to focus on much else with the food on his plate. Maybe he was being dramatic, but it wasn't all too often that he ate a home cooked meal. He and Brooklyn often got take out or ate out, but neither of them were big cooks. Nick could reheat his leftovers, but cooking a turkey, and even things like mashed potatoes were things that he didn't think he was capable of doing. With that in mind, it was all the more shocking that someone like Cara, of all people, could pull off cooking this kind of food. Then again, it had been obvious that Ryan had at least a hand in cooking the turkey, and Chanel had been in and out of the apartment all day, so adding those two into the mix made it a little bit more believable. Still, this was a pretty good meal for Thanksgiving to begin with, and better than he could have imagined when taking into account that no one in the apartment seemed capable of preparing a Thanksgiving meal on the fly like this. "So, did you still want to see that movie later?" he asked Brooklyn after another couple mouthfuls of food.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Nick's little comments were mostly only answered by nods from Brooklyn. In part, she had lost her enthusiasm for the night, but she also was just busy eating. The meal was good but even in her mood of self-doubt, she wasn't going to give credit to Cara for that. The girl could be pretty and wealthy, but Brooklyn wasn't buying this perfect little housewife image that she was probably going for. No, a girl like Cara who didn't have to lift a finger in her life for anything did not know how to cook this food. Brooklyn would have been surprised if she had even been responsible for putting the salad together, and that seemed to be all that the girl ever ate. She wished that she had caught Cara's attention for a moment to actually check on that, and see if she had played a part in any of the dishes so she could have made a point to not touch whatever one that was.

After a few minutes of eating, Brooklyn realized that Roman wasn't with them. She was surprised to see him sitting by the television with Holly, and if she was seeing right, actually talking to her. That in itself wasn't as surprising as she was making it out to be in her head, and maybe Roman didn't complain about how bothersome Holly could be as much as she did, but it still reminded her of her own interactions with Holly earlier. How sometimes she and the others felt more compelled to engage with Holly... just because. Even when Brooklyn was snapping at her, it wasn't with the degree of anger that she would show to Roman or Nick. Physically speaking, she was a good few years younger than them, but a lot of the time, it was necessary to show more restraint than she would to an average sixteen year old because Holly felt more like a kid than a teenager. The things she did were too innocent for her to be treated the same way Brooklyn would treat a teenager. Glancing over at the table where Ryan sat, it was really bizarre to consider that he was only three years older than Holly. He seemed young to her too, but at least he was a person who was capable of navigating the world on his own. It was sad, really, and watching Roman interact with her for that moment made her feel a little bit warmer. She knew that Roman wasn't some cold, macho guy, but with how closed off he could be to most people, it wasn't always evident, so seeing him with Holly just validated that he was the person she thought him to be.

"I don't really care," she shrugged. "Rob said he might need extra girls tonight, so if he does, I'll probably go in." She didn't feel bad for considering going into work tonight. She sensed that Nick wasn't enthusiastic about their movie plans, and especially feeling so unsure of her future lately, she could use the extra money that an extra shift would bring. After a few more bites of food, her drink was empty. "I'll be back," she said, raising her empty cup to signal where she was going.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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The movie allowed Holly to forget about Roman's offer to get her food for a few minutes. She only noticed Isaac joining the duo because he had to walk past her in order to claim his seat on the ground, and the moving body captured Holly's attention for the moment. "His name is Remy... and he likes to cook," she said, deciding that was an efficient summary to catch Isaac up on what he had missed, since he seemed familiar with the movie anyway. Now that more of the food was right next to her, with the smells becoming more potently mouth watering, it was harder for her to ignore her desire to get up and see what had been made. She really had not been trying to be bothersome by dodging Roman's offers for food, as the dodging part had not been done on purpose. It was just the way she was, where one word could lead her off on a tangent about something completely unrelated, without her noticing. She glanced over at his plate, and then down at Isaac's and considered asking one of them for a roll. Although she had never had them, with one look at the mashed potatoes, she was sure she wouldn't like them. They looked too soft, with a texture that she thought would surely gross her out. She had never had turkey either, but that looked better, as long as she didn't drown it gravy like the boys had done. Salad was gross, but she supposed that she could try the macaroni too, and pretend there was cheese on it.

The movie caught her eye again, but a minute or so later, she pulled away her gaze and was ready to open her mouth and ask Roman to go get her something when Makayla appeared beside of her. Surprisingly, her bad mood from earlier seemed completely gone. Her voice sounded cheerful and when she returned after leaving to get a chair, she acted like she had never told Holly to stay there until she got back. Roman was right, Makayla would not have yelled at her for getting food, apparently. At first, a look of confusion covered her face, but she decided not to linger on it. Food was waiting for her, and now that she was positive it wasn't going to get in the way of her being able to stay for cupcakes, she decided to go make her plate. Unlike the long while it took for Makayla to shake her bad mood, all it took was Holly realizing that Makayla wasn't mad at her for her unusual mood to disappear. She perked up immediately, hopping out of her chair as she said, "Okay, make sure nothing good happens in the movie until I get back! And Roman and Isaac will tell you everything you missed while you were gone, okay?", before heading into the kitchen. "Hi Brooklyn!" she sang, passing the blonde and Nick near the island as she turned to the area where all of the food was laid out. "Thanksgiving is so fun," she verbalized aloud, though she wasn't talking to anyone other than herself, as she took a plate and began to analyze the dishes. She definitely wanted a roll. No, two. Two rolls, that was good. And they needed butter, but not too much butter. She put a thin layer on the inside of each roll before continuing to the next dish, and the next, and the next. Most of them made her wrinkle her nose because she was a picky eater and simply had never seen or tried them before, but she added some plain turkey and macaroni to the plate, and refilled her miraculously-empty cup of Sprite with more Sprite.

As she was heading back into the living room, she passed the table that Cara and Chanel and Ryan sat at. Since it felt like decades since she had interacted with them, she set her glass and plate down on the table but didn't sit down in one of the remaining two chairs. She needed to say hello, but she couldn't miss the whole movie because of them. "Hi," she smiled, almost instantly thinking of something to talk about. "Cara, did you see that Chanel has the same hair as you today, except hers is not blonde like yours. Did you know one time me and Makayla saw the movie about all of the animals that escaped from the zoo and went to Africa, and there's a giraffe in the movie named Melman that reminds me of you, Chanel. And there was no one in the movie that reminded me of you, Cara, but since you're tall like a giraffe too, you're like a street light because they're so tall too and yellow at the top where their light is, like you are with your hair." She laughed to herself, but only because she was thinking about Melman again. He was definitely funnier than Chanel. "Thank you for letting us come to your house for Thanksgiving this year, even though you didn't have lemonade. Makayla's in a good mood now," she added.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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It didn't take long for him to register the change in Makayla once she came back. He was well acquainted with drug use and people who were on them, so he could tell fairly quickly when someone just seemed off. Makayla had been gone for the majority of the dinner and what with her slurred speech and generally loose demeanor, he could see instantly that she had something in her. He wasn't quite sure what since he didn't know her well enough to know what things gave her what effects. As she spoke to Holly and moved about the room, Roman watched her with a hard face. It wasn't from judgment but instead from concentration. He tapped Isaac with the toe of his shoe and nodded towards Makayla, but didn't say anything. Upon Holly leaving, he normally would have been quiet relieved, especially after his failed attempt to be a decent person. It only took Holly saying three words for him to have regretted his decision. But even with her making her way into the kitchen, he didn't relax. Looking across the room to where the other girls sat, Chanel being loud and seemingly drunk as hell, and Cara just being Cara, he had to wonder if this night would remain fairly normal for too much longer. He didn't have much worry for Brooke. The girl could drink like a grown man if she really wanted to. But still, Roman wasn't in the mood for doing any babysitting tonight.

He shook the beer in his hand, the weight of it lighter than he liked, so he decided to get another one. Before he was able to get to the kitchen, Cara called and waved him over. With an innate roll of the eye he went over to the table where the girls, Ryan, and now Holly were. "What?" he said, and when she finally told him, his face flattened and she just looked at her. He had half the mind to tell her to get Holly's lemonade her damn self, especially after she admitted to not doing it on the premise of her just being too lazy to do so. "And remind me why you need me to do it?" he began before Chanel cut in. "Roman, c'mon," she said before eyeing Holly as if to remind him that the girl was still standing there. He cut Cara another look, annoyed that she brought up ruining Holly's Thanksgiving. The holiday meant absolutely nothing to him, but it was still one of those things where when Holly was thrown into the equation, one felt an obligation to not be as shitty of a person. He wasn't annoyed with Holly any, and he didn't mind getting out of the apartment for a bit, especially to escape Chanel's boisterous laughing. But to him it just spoke to Cara's shallowness. "Fine. Whatever. Holly, you better drink it too," he said. His voice wasn't harsh with her, and in fact it was pretty half-assed in his attempt to be serious. "You want anything else because I'm not making two trips."

Before he left, he turned to Chanel, lowering his voice just a bit since Holly was still there. He wasn't sure if she was even paying that much attention to him, but still, just in case. "While I'm gone, you might want to check on your friend over there," he said, nodding over to Makayla. He watched Chanel's eyes go over to the girl before glancing at him. "What's wrong with her?" Roman simply raised his eyebrow in disbelief as if to say Really? Chanel simply nodded, curt and quick. It seemed she got it but didn't want to dwell on anything. "Yeah, okay," she said. As he turned to go get his jacket from his room, he caught sight of Brooke and Nick sitting at the island. He hadn't really talked to them any since the dinner began, and he wasn't in any real rush to leave, so he made his way over, sliding his arms over the counter where they sat. He was closest to Brooke, who he hadn't heard much from. He knew earlier she got annoyed with him, so he wasn't going to try to ask if she was okay, although he was wondering. Actually about both of them. They'd kept to themselves all night, which wasn't really strange, but again there was a weird vibe coming from their area. Instead of being sentimental, especially since that didn't woke the last time, he decided he'd provoke her instead and try to get a response that way. Without glancing at her or making any big ordeal out of it, Roman picked the slice of turkey up from from Brooke's plate and took a bite out of it. "I'm heading out to the store. You guys want anything?"

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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When Brooklyn had gotten up to refill her drink, Nick had gotten up too to put more food on his plate. Brooklyn didn't seem like she was in the mood for conversation. For him, he was just too busy eating to be talking much, and he wasn't big on mindless chatter anyway, but that rule generally didn't apply when it was just him and Brooklyn. They weren't oddly talkative, but they would speak more than they were now. Before getting up, she had said that she was thinking about going into work, and it only furthered his guess that something was off. Brooklyn worked a fair amount, and taking up extra shifts when they had no plans wasn't unusual, but they did have plans tonight. Nick wasn't outrageously enthusiastic about them, but her even considering going into work showed that she was less enthusiastic than he was. He thought that if it was the other way around, and he was considering breaking their plans to go make a big deal or something, she would have flipped out on him. He felt like he had a reason to do the same, but between not caring about the movie that much, actually wanting to stay home, and knowing that he had no right to start a fight after what he had done three weeks ago, he only nodded when they had returned to their seats and said, "We'll just see how we're feeling in an hour or two then," before starting on his second plate.

Ugh. Brooklyn had been picking at her salad when Roman came over and took a piece of turkey off of her plate. Normally, she could deal with Roman being a pain in the ass on purpose because she could do something equally annoying as payback for it. Today, her moods were just so... off. She didn't know why. Or maybe she did. After knowing about Nick and Cara for two weeks, it was finally starting to weigh on her to a point where it was becoming unbearable. She couldn't keep it to herself anymore, because she was no longer able to keep herself from thinking about it. Normally, she was good at suppressing bad thoughts in her mind. It was how she had gotten over her sister and fathers' deaths, and how she had survived the shitty life her mother had given her following that. She just stopped thinking about it. Numbed her feelings to a point where if those thoughts did ever come up, she was able to shove them to the back of her brain again before they could get a reaction out of her. Leaving home and literally running away from the problems helped too, and furthered her tendency to avoid facing her problems.

This situation that she was in now was far less extreme than what she had went through years ago, but it was proving to be harder to suppress. For what reason, she wasn't sure. It was possible that it was because Nick had been the only person she had truly opened up to since those deaths. She had never had any extremely close friends after her life was flipped upside down after the car accident, and Nick was the first person she ever had who she felt truly comfortable around. She had let down a lot of walls with him that she swore no one would ever break down, and then to be so betrayed left her angry with herself possibly even more than him. It was dumb of her to think that it was possible for her to be truly loved by anyone, and it was entirely her fall for making herself vulnerable to be hurt in this way. Brooklyn wasn't an emotional person to begin with, so even though she wasn't shattered to a point where she was in tears every hour of every day, these mood swings she had been going through made her uncomfortable in its own right.

She had a mouthful of salad, so aside from glaring at Roman, she tried to remind herself that it wasn't healthy to be so negative and to project her anger so much on someone who didn't deserve it. He deserved the glare for touching her food, and she pulled her plate away so he wouldn't be able to put the partially bitten piece back down, but she wasn't going to overreact. Not when, for the most part, Roman usually lightened her mood. "No, I don't need anything," she answered after washing her food down with a sip of her drink. "What do you need now, anyway?" She hadn't heard or noticed him talking to Cara, so she assumed he was just going out to pick up cigarettes or something. It wasn't like she cared about what he was getting really, but making conversation made her feel like she was normalizing things more after how she had snapped earlier. His answer of, "Some lemonade for Holly," made her raise her eyebrows as a small smile pulled at the corner of her lips. "What a gentleman. I saw you over there chatting it up with her earlier too. Don't think that good deed went unnoticed," she teased, kicking him gently from her seat.

"You know, I actually think I'll come with you," Nick decided after scarfing down a few pieces of turkey in two bites. He cleared his mouth with a gulp of beer and stood up, glancing at Brooklyn. "Is that cool with you?"

"It doesn't affect me," she shrugged. That part of her that always wanted to be petty wanted to be passive agressive now, but she knew she couldn't. She was the one who was possibly going to leave and dance naked in front of men in a few hours, so Nick taking a quick trip to the store with Roman wasn't that big of a deal. It wasn't as personal as her brain tried to make it when she tried to spin it into Nick being too bored with her that going out into the cold was a better alternative.

"Alright, we won't be long then. Let me just grab my coat, I'll meet you outside," Nick said to Roman before turning away from the two. He headed to his bedroom and put on his jacket, and made sure he had a couple of dollars in his pocket. "You sure you don't need anything while we're out?" he asked as he passed by Brooklyn on his way towards the front of the apartment. She shook her head no at first, but when he was a few steps away, she called him back. "Actually, yeah," she said when he was by her side again. "Grab some condoms in case you want to fuck Cara again." She included a smile with the revelation, as if the request had been something as normal as asking him to pick up some snacks, before nonchalantly turning back to her food.

"Wh... What?" He had been right. She had known all along and now what was he was supposed to say? How was he supposed to respond to that. Nick felt his face go white and he stumbled over what to say next. He needed to explain himself, but right there? With Cara just over in the distance? And what would he even say? She had him pinned, there was no making excuses or trying to deny it. Maybe it was for the better that she didn't let him to continue to struggle to find the words that he knew he would never find, because she continued this "everything is fine and dandy" act when Roman approached them again, now with his coat on too. "Don't take too long, I'm sure Holly's excited for that lemonade," Brooklyn said to the two of them as she waved them out the door.

Nick was in panic mode, but panic mode for him meant that he was dead silent and just trying to focus on reminding himself to breathe as he headed out of the building with Roman. He didn't want to seem too off because he didn't want to have to explain himself to Roman. He doubted it, but at this point, for all he knew, Roman knew too. He and Brooklyn were close enough where it wouldn't have been outlandish for her to have told Roman too. Maybe he was playing along even better than Brooke had, to fool Nick into thinking that no one knew. When they reached the last flight of stairs, Nick was itching for something to relax him. He didn't have weed on him, and it wasn't like he could light that up on the street, so he turned to Roman and said, "Got any cigarettes on you?" Thankfully, Roman gave him one and allowed him to borrow his lighter as needed while they walked. He knew one cigarette wasn't going to quiet the restlessness that he was feeling, but it was the best he had to work with for the moment.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Surprising to most people, Roman was a relatively neat person. He didn't like when things were disorganized despite his life resembling just that. He had no direction anymore, no plan or idea as to what he was doing, and this was mostly by choice, at least at first. He enjoyed the freedom that came with living in the moment, even if it was driven by a stubbornness and refusal to comply with his grandparents' best desires. Now, though, he couldn't be so confident about be this unsure about everything. It could become quite frustrating, and so having something that he could control, something that resembled organization somehow took him back to a nostalgic time when he did know what was happening. It, in a way, put him at ease. So when he searched his room for a few minutes looking for his phone after he'd gotten his coat, it was safe to say he was just as quickly annoyed as he was confused. Even more so when he realized that his phone had been in his pocket all along. As they headed down the steps, Nick taking up one of Roman's cigarettes, Roman placed one behind his ear as well. Although he was relieved to be out of the apartment, it wasn't for the reasons he had anticipated prior to the start of the evening. Really right now it was because he was eager for a chill, a break from the warmth accumulated from all the bodies and leftover heat from the cooking. It wasn't from the pandemonium that he had previsioned.

"Everything's going smoother than I expected," he said as they walked. He wasn't expecting much from Nick in the dialogue department, since it was in both of their nature to be relatively quiet, but when Nick had only responded with a disengaged "Yeah?" Roman glanced his way. He took a second to take in Nick's demeanor, noticing how the guy seemed tense and just generally distracted. Earlier he had thought Brooke seemed oddly quiet, and he had considered bringing it up to Nick himself, but he was starting to notice a change in Nick too. Quite frequently Roman tried to stay out of their relationship, and when he got any weird vibes, he tended to ignore it and just tell himself that he was overthinking things. There relationship between Nick and Brooke wasn't great to say the least, so it wasn't weird if there seemed to be an 'air' between them, but this just felt a little foreign than in previous accounts. He couldn't get away with asking Brooklyn head on if she was okay, but with Nick, he could. "You all right, man? Seem kind of out of it."

Yeah, I know I fucked up, but she has to accept my apology, right? It's not like that night with Cara meant anything, and she has to know that the only reason why I didn't come clean about it right away was because it meant nothing. It was a stupid fucking mistake, and there was no point in bringing it up and ruining the good place we had gotten to. How the fuck did she even find out, though? There's no way that Cara could have told her without her ending up with claw marks all over her face. Did she look through my phone? Did Cara say anything about it to me through text?

Nick was having a breakdown in his head but he remained straight faced and very much detached physically from his emotional state. He held his cigarette in his mouth for as pulled out his phone to verify that Cara hadn't sent him anything incriminating, when Roman asked him if everything was alright. He pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and allowed his hand with the phone to fall to his side as he glanced at Roman, making an effort to seem less distant, just to detract attention from himself. "Me? Yeah, I'm good. Tired. Turkey does that to you that, right? Isn't that a thing?" he asked before looking back at his phone. He didn't know if it seemed like he was overcompensating now for not talking much earlier, but he continued to try to validate his actions by explaining what he was doing. "Just trying to work out a few deals for tomorrow. Gotta start making more money with the holidays coming up, you know?" He moved his phone a little closer to his face as he pulled up his message thread with Cara, even though he knew that he wasn't close enough to Roman where he could have really read anything anyway. He looked through it all, but there was nothing there that spoke directly of the night. Nothing so unusual or incriminating where she could have looked through his phone to find out. Still, he didn't think Cara would have said anything to Brooklyn, and Brooklyn wasn't friends with anyone aside from Roman, and Cara obviously wasn't friends with Roman where she would have told him. None of this made any sense. He didn't want to talk to Brooklyn and have to face all of this, especially in the middle of the party Cara was throwing, but he knew it needed to be done now.

"Uh...I...wouldn't know," Roman said in response to Nick's comment about the effects of turkey. He'd honestly never heard of that before, so he couldn't really comment on its clarity. His doubt came through in the lack of volume in his voice as he spoke, but this was also because of the confusion he was now left in. It wasn't really about the turkey thing--he didn't care about that any--but it was more so about Nick. It wasn't so much that Nick couldn't talk about turkey, and perhaps it just seemed stranger to Roman because it seemed quite a bit random, given he hadn't heard of turkey making you sleepy before. He knew food could do that, so maybe it was just a trickle down saying of sorts. Still, he didn't dwell on it for too long as Nick had continued speaking, this time about the holidays, of which Killens was still forgetting was a thing. It wasn't that they didn't have a similar spirit back at home, but the excitement of the season had simmered down for him a long time ago. The thing he liked most was the cold."Plan on getting Brooke something big this year?" Roman asked, trying to keep his voice straight and void of any suspicion.

Nick had lost focus on what Roman was saying as after looking through his texts with Cara, he searched through his messages with Brooklyn. He was trying to play detective, seeing if he had accidentally left any clues that suggested something was awry, or if she had hinted about knowing before. It didn't seem so, and that made him feel even less uneasy. It wasn't like finding out how she had found out was going to make the problem any better, but he felt restless not knowing who had been the one to sell him out. He knew that he deserved the retaliation from Brooklyn for cheating, but he also felt like he needed to know how she had found out. "Um, I don't know. Haven't put much thought into it, but you know how it is with her. Every year's gotta be better than the last," he added, a forced laugh coming out at the end. Luckily, CVS was in their sights now, and Nick hoped that that would be the end to that conversation. His future with Brooklyn was the last person he wanted to be talking about right then, because he doubted they would even be together by Christmas. "All we're getting is lemonade, right?" he asked as the automatic doors opened in front of them.

Despite the walk being short, it was still enjoyable. The CVS was less than a minute away, and honestly, he would have been fine if it was further away. When he wanted to be alone and just get moving, he would typically go out walking around the city, but he preferred night over the day. There was a stronger sense of solitude during this time that Roman appreciated. And even though right now he was accompanied by Nick, who already seemed a bit distracted to begin with, he didn't really mind it. He never felt pressed to keep a conversation going with Nick, which was one of the reasons he really liked the guy. It was usually easy to tell how close a pair was by seeing how quickly they interacted with each other, but for the two of them it was sort of the opposite. They didn't need to say much, and he knew it was fine on both ends. But that was why it made it harder for him when he actually wanted to talk to Nick. For once he actually felt a pressure to say something, but he wasn't entirely sure what. Whenever he did try coming up with things to say, he always wound up speechless, and that's exactly what happened until they arrived at the doors of CVS. Finally, he knew what to say, but only because he was prompted, and because it didn't require much thought. "Yeah," he said, feeling some relief. For now, he would let things go, only because he did get uncomfortable whenever he felt like he was prying. "I'm probably gonna get some candy now that I think about it. So you know where to find me," he said as he made his way over to the sweets section.

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Nick nodded, and stood idly for a moment as Roman separated from him to go down the candy aisle. He didn't need anything in the store for himself, and suddenly was regretting coming. Had he not left, maybe Brooklyn would not have felt inclined to say what she had said at all tonight. A part of him wanted to convince himself that he had been planning on confessing to her later that night anyway, even though it wasn't true. He really didn't know what to do, at all. He didn't know if he was even supposed to return to Cara's apartment, or if that had been a "don't show your face again" message. He had friends who he could spend a couple of nights with here and there, but Nick didn't want to start couch hopping again. He supposed that if anything, he could always sleep on Isaac's couch or even on a blowup mattress in his living room and chip in for rent. Isaac was chill enough where Nick didn't think he would mind, but would that even do any good, if Brooklyn and Cara were still living right across the hall? And would Brooklyn even continue to live there? Would Cara even let her? Nick's head was spinning. He considered just turning around and leaving the store without notifying Roman, but as customers stepped in front of him to exit, he moved out of the way and slowly walked into the store more. With nothing of his own to get, he headed down the drink aisle. There were a couple of different brands of lemonade in the beverage refrigerators that lined a wall, but he guessed that Holly was looking for something bigger than a personal serving of the drink. He continued past the small bottles and picked up a 2 liter bottle of Minute Maid lemonade when he found the larger bottles that weren't refrigerated, and just situated on shelves. This will work.

He brought the drink to the counter and appreciated how empty the store was. It was to be expected on a holiday, especially around this time when people were finishing up or eating their meals, but it still felt foreign for any store in the city. Everything always seemed to be busy, no matter what time it was. Not having to deal with that now was convenient because he didn't have to wait in line, but he liked the crowds of New York City. After living here for so long, he couldn't imagine having to live in a smaller city or a place where everyone knew everyone. He liked being able to disappear in big crowds. It often helped him put his problems into perspective. A lot of the time, he felt like he had his struggles, but compared to people sleeping on street benches or dying of cancer, he had it pretty good. Tonight, he needed something like that to remind him that whatever was going to happen when he returned to the apartment wasn't going to be the end of the world.

After paying, he returned back towards the aisles and found Roman at the front of the candy aisle. "Don't they have a bunch of shit at the house? Cupcakes and pies and stuff?" he asked. He knew Roman had a sweet tooth, and maybe he was craving something more candy-ish over an actual dessert, but he figured it couldn't hurt to remind him, and also keep up the ruse that nothing was wrong.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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His hands were shoved into his pockets and he rolled a piece of lint between his thumb and index finger as he searched for what candy he wanted. Part of him wanted to get gummy worms, but he was really in the mood for chocolate. Plus, he knew that if he got the gummy worms he would only eat the pink and blue ones. He lulled the bottom of a Godiva bag of chocolate from where it hung, pulling it closer to him before dropping it. It wasn't that important, he reasoned, remembering why he came here to begin with. No point in wasting money. When he looked up to find Nick, he saw him in the drinks section, probably getting the lemonade himself. Roman turned back to the candy, figuring he could spare a few dollars if Nick was getting the lemonade. He was kind of hoping to buy it, though, because he figured he could convince Cara that the lemonade was actually a few dollars more expensive than it actually was. He picked up a package of Kit Kats. While he prefered Crunch bars and Reese's cups, he had a small bias towards Kit Kats. He remembered it as being the first candy he bought when he got off the plane. Well, the first candy he tried buying. While he was waiting in the airport during an hour layover, his sweet tooth had gotten the best of him. Of course he hadn't had any American currency on him, so he was ultimately left with nothing. That was until he told his grandparents and they ended up buying him one. He pulled the Kit Kat from where it sat, turning it in his hand, and deciding he'd buy it for his past self. Not much had changed except the fact that he was older and had a little bit more money. He was still as good as broke in his book.

Roman peeled the wrapper open and wiggled a Kit Kat out, biting into it. He stuffed the piece of plastic into his pocket, feeling his phone in the process. He looked to check the time and wasn't surprised, but was a little bit disappointed that it wasn't eight yet. He was still pretty tired, and the food had only assisted in that. Perhaps it had something to do with the turkey, he thought, remembering what Nick had said earlier. Despite being tired, he was also restless. The dinner was going well, but it still wasn't somewhere he wanted to be. He sighed, wishing that him and Hannah hadn't gotten into a fight earlier. She always had stuff to do--or smoke rather. Plus she had an assortment of other things that he had a sort of craving for. Not any particular drug itself, but its affect. Whenever he was feeling too grounded, kind of like how he was feeling now, he would get an itch to get high. How high really depended on the circumstance, and right now he just wanted to use it as something to do. Something to pass the time because he was bored, and too aware of everything. It was slightly counterproductive because when he got very anxious he also used an array of substances to balance out how he was feeling. He was close to sending Hannah a text before Nick came over. "Well, I've already opened it," he said, shrugging. "How long do you think this thing is gonna last?" he said as he exited the aisle with Nick.

He figured that Isaac might have some stuff. Well, he knew Isaac had things. And the guy was always really generous with Roman. At the very least, he had weed, which could be enough for him tonight. He would be working all day on Saturday, so he figured that if he could hold out until then, the payout would be far more rewarding than indulging right now just because he was bored. Not only that, but he definitely deserved to smoke at least a little bit because he didn't get a chance to earlier, something he was really regretting now. "Did you smoke all your stuff earlier?" he said as he placed the Kit Kat on the counter and dug through his wallet for the money. Just as the cashier was saying the amount, Roman was already giving him exact cash. "If not, Isaac might have some. I doubt he's pressed for staying at Cara's. And I bet those desserts would taste a lot better high." Upon this realization, he was wondering why he didn't think of that earlier. "I'm gonna ask him," he said as he sent Isaac a text as they exited the store.

To: Isaac
Hey. You have any weed? I'm bored as fuck and just wanna waste some time

After he sent it, he looked back to Nick, holding his phone up some. "You want to come before you and Brooke go out? That's to say if he has anything." Even though he was sure Isaac wouldn't mind Nick coming, he reasoned that Nick would say no. But Roman figured there was no harm in asking, especially since he still got the sense that there was something going on with Nick.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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"Eh, who knows. They weren't even on to dessert when we were leaving. I honestly don't know how long these things are supposed to last... you know, especially since most of us aren't actually friends. Kind of hard to want to sit around and chat all night," he shrugged when Roman asked about the dinner. He didn't even know if he would be at the dinner for another five minutes. Just not returning would be conspicuous, but returning and either having to pretend to be completely normal around Brooklyn to preserve the dinner, or fighting right in front of them would be even worse. Nick knew that avoiding his problems would only be detrimental in the long run. Had he confessed to Brooklyn about what he and Cara had done right after it happened, he wouldn't have been in this predicament now. However, he wanted to believe that this time was different, and that right now, he would only be avoiding his problem to avoid a bigger problem occurring because of the first one. If he went back there, he was sure as he followed Roman to the counter, that he and Brooklyn would have no other choice but to fight right there. Cara would be dragged into it, making it uncomfortable for Cara's brother, and just killing off any party vibes that Makayla, Holly, Roman or Isaac had.

He decided to wait to tell Roman that he wasn't going back right away until they were closer to the apartment building. When Roman asked about weed, Nick paused, and was glad that he followed up with considering that Isaac might have had some. Nick had picked up a ton of weed earlier that day, but after wasting some of it on Isaac and Makayla, he knew he couldn't afford to give away much more free weed right away. Especially not when he knew that he was going to need to spend the rest of his life in a constant state of high. "Yeah, see if Isaac has any. I can spare some for you if he doesn't have anything, but I actually have some people to see up the block now, so I won't be back for a little while." He would make it seem like he had business to do, but he had no weed on him, so actually doing any business was going to be impossible, despite really having some people hitting him up for some drugs. As they headed out of the store, he pulled out his phone once more and decided to text Brooklyn. They needed to talk, and he knew that pushing it off would only cause more issues, but he also didn't want to do it in the middle of their apartment where it was going to affect everyone else.

To: Brooklyn
I want to talk to you but I don't want to do it in the middle of everyone's Thanksgiving party. Can I please meet up with you somewhere else?

They didn't live far from the CVS, so after they were out of the store for a few seconds, he handed the bag with the lemonade in it to Roman. "I don't even think I'm gonna bother heading back up there since I need to head out anyway, so would you give this to Holly or Cara or whatever? Tell her not to even worry about the money."

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"Yeah, sure," Roman said, taking the bag from Nick. He was really just agreeing to giving it to Cara or Holly, not the later part about forgetting the money. If Nick wasn't coming back, then Killens could easily say that he'd bought the lemonade himself. He knew the thing couldn't have been more than a couple of dollars, but he wasn't going to tell Cara that. He'd up the cost a little bit more, just because he knew she wouldn't question it, but he did wonder how much would cause her to raise her brow. "Be safe, man," Roman called after departing. He knew that Nick didn't sell any of the hardcore shit that would really get you killed, and he probably wasn't in any authorized position to tell someone to be safe. He knew it worried Nick and Brooke, but he saw it as a temporary thing, like he saw a majority of the aspects in his life, so he didn't even stress out about it. But even if what Roman did at night was directly more dangerous than what Nick did, he still did worry about the guy.

Before meeting Nick, he'd never really been concerned with the well being of any of the dealers he knew. And even still, none of them had gotten killed or anything--at least not that he was aware of. There was one guy he briefly met, but it hardly even counted because it was back in school and he was just going with a friend for a pick up. Roman couldn't even remember the guy's face, and when his friend told him about three months later about the guy getting killed, Roman only muttered a 'Eh, well that sucks' before moving on with his life. In fact, he was surprised that he even remembered it now, despite it only being a few years ago. Regardless, he knew nothing was going to happen with Nick, but there was still a part of him that worried about him. He was naturally an anxious person, and although he rarely showed it to Nick, or to Brooke, this trait found itself in the way he cared about them. And that included hoping Nick didn't get into anything stupid while he was out, which of course he wouldn't, but still. He'd regret having not said anything if something did happen.

By the time he was halfway up the stairs, he realized that he had never responded to Isaac. There was really no point now since he would be inside within the next minute. As he edged up the stairwell, he became a bit winded, and he wished that he'd had a cigarette while he was outside. He knew it was normal to feel a little out of breath after walking up five flight of stairs, and so there was really no excuse to need to smoke. It was probably just habit, not just on its own, but from always having one after working out or fighting. Clearly this wasn't anywhere near as extreme, but he was still a tad embarrassed that a simple hike up some steps automatically made him crave a cigarette. This wasn't enough to really get him to quit smoking though. Besides, he thought as he opened the door that was already unlocked, if it turned out he really did need one, he could spare himself a cigarette and just smoke with Isaac. He figured they'd be gone for maybe fifteen minutes or so. He wasn't trying to get stoned or anything, just a light buzz, so maybe by that time they'd have the dessert out, since that was another reason he wanted to get a little high. Because he was bored, but also because he could eat and enjoy food way more than usual.

When he walked into the kitchen, finding Cara there, he saw that the desserts hadn't been touched yet. While this was okay with him because he didn't want there to be none for him to eat, he couldn't help but roll his eyes as he disrobed the lemonade from the plastic bag. He noticed that Chanel was gone, and Ryan too from the looks of it, so it was no wonder that no progress had been made in the time--albeit short--he'd been gone. "You're just lost without your little minions, aren't you?" He crumbled the bag in his hand. "Do you plan on getting to dessert this year or...?" Without anyone to really chaperone how he interacted with Cara, he felt less filtered. He knew he could have simply just given her the lemonade and asked for the money that he had no right to, but the only repercussions he'd face would be either Cara biting back at him or her rolling her eyes. So there was really no con for him. "Oh yeah," he said, holding out his hand. "That'll be ten dollars, please. But," he said after a thoughtful second, "You probably only carry twenties and above, so I'll take that too."

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