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Nick Moreno

0 · 1,919 views · located in New York

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

Description

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Name:
Nicolas Christian Moreno

Nickname:
Nick

Age:
24

Birthday:
January 24th

Sexuality:

Heterosexual

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

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

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

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

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

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

So begins...

Nick Moreno's Story

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno
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It was hard to sleep knowing that he had messed up so badly, that his relationship with the girl he was sure was "the one" was probably completely over. He didn't know that for a fact, but Brooklyn had ignored his texts and calls all night, and it wasn't like he could blame her for that, or wanting to be completely rid of him. The night that he had slept with Cara, Brooklyn had flipped out on him and called it quits, but that was something the two of them did on a regular basis. They fought, got loud with each other, and then the next day, things would cool down and they would be good again. There was no reason that he should have taken her ending things as being serious, and he knew good and well that it wasn't like they were actually broken up. Even if they were, it still was not appropriate to sleep with someone else hours after ending a years-long relationship. He could come up with excuse after excuse for why he wasn't all to blame for what had happened, but it was no use. He knew that in the end, he was the one who had done wrong, and anything that Brooklyn had done to lead up to it was petty and insignificant compared to what he had done.

After literally just wandering the city's streets for a good two hours, Nick stopped trying to contact Brooklyn and instead, texted Roman to see if she was home. He confirmed that she wasn't and that mostly everyone had left Cara's apartment, so he headed home. He luckily avoided Cara for the night, but only because he literally headed straight for his bedroom upon getting home, and didn't leave it again until eight in the morning when he woke up. Brooklyn had not come in at all over the night which made the guilt and anxiety levels in him rise significantly. Even if she had gone into work the night before, she would have been home by five or six. He guessed that she had opted to stay with a friend, but he hoped that she would at least give him a chance to try to explain himself. It was hard with Brooklyn sometimes, because she was so head strong. She was so convinced that she didn't need anyone and that she was fine on her own, that sometimes she refused to give people chances, or in Nick's case, second chances. He knew that despite how she acted, she was actually a very sensitive person, so she probably wasn't even reacting to this in a way where she was trying to be spiteful, but that she really was just very offended by it. He didn't blame her, and reminding himself of that only made him feel even worse. He didn't know what he was supposed to do, other than feel immensely guilty, when she wasn't going to give him a chance to explain or apologize. Maybe it wasn't fair of him to expect to be able to do those things on his own terms, but he really did want to be able to do them in private. He didn't need Cara being thrown into the mix. He knew she and Brooke would have their own problems now, but he wanted to sort his issues out with Brooklyn on his own without Cara walking in or being in the apartment, and just adding more fuel to the fire.

He left to make some sales at eight, and called her six times by the time he started to head back home at eleven. He reached their apartment building at eleven-twenty, and three more calls, that also went unanswered, were made by then. Rather than go inside, he waited outside. Not only did he not want to see Cara, but he hoped that maybe he would get magically lucky, and Brooke would be coming back to the apartment just as he was waiting out there. He doubted it, but the crisp, cold fall air felt refreshing this morning, and it made him feel a tiny bit better than he had felt since the night before.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Ryan left his father's house shortly after Brooklyn did, and when he got back to his apartment building, the last person he wanted to see was standing outside. "Hey, Nick," he said, trying to seem cheerful. He gave a small wave and nod to the guy as he passed by. Ryan didn't stop, and might have even quickened his pace as he hurried into the building. It was safe to say that he wasn't one of those guys who possessed that "I just fucked your girl and am going to try to rub it in" mindsets. Not at all. Not just because he was convinced that Nick would be able to murder him with his bare hands, but because it just wasn't who Ryan was. If anything, situations like this made him more restless and anxious. He knew that playing a role in this whole love affair thing was wrong, and would only spell trouble, but it didn't feel wrong. At the same time, Brooklyn was the first person he had ever slept with, so he didn't have anything else to compare it to. He knew the sex was good physically. He didn't just know that, he was positive about that. What might have been wrong was the feelings behind it, though. He was embarrassed for himself at the thought, but he felt like his entire opinion of Brooklyn had changed overnight, literally. He liked her, like, really liked her, and even though she had left in the morning hinting that her night with him was just something that provided her "comfort" and that she needed to figure out what her situation with Nick was, he still felt like there was a potential for more. Brooklyn was four years older than him, but that wasn't too large of an age gap. Ryan thought of himself as being mature personality wise anyway, and it wasn't like he couldn't match whatever intellectually stimulating conversations that twenty-four-year-old (no-college-degree) Nick had with her. He had never been someone who was very confident, and he still wasn't, but after last night, he was under the impression that he had some sort of chance with Brooklyn.

He didn't know how his sister was going to take it, finding out that Brooklyn had come over last night. He doubted that she had spoken to their father in the last twenty-four hours and it went without saying that she wouldn't have reached out to their stepmother, so for now, he thought that his not-so-secret secret was safe. She knew that he had went to their dad's from his text last night, but she didn't know who he went with. He still didn't want to run into his sister, though. While he was confident and excited about what had happened in his head, even just walking past Nick, who he thought knew nothing about the night, made him jumpy and nervous. His sister was the type to pry and capitalize on his anxiety in order to get things out of him, and he wasn't in the mood to deal with that when he was still trying to savor the cloud nine feeling from last night. Plus, he still felt so unsure about what to feel about Cara's involvement in Brooklyn's initial dilemma with Nick. Honestly, he had to admit that his sister's promiscuity had worked to his advantage here, but he also now felt like he wanted to defend Brooklyn and her happiness. She had confided in him, and in his mind, sleeping with her had meant something more than just physical sex. He wasn't sure if it was enough to make him take someone else's side completely over his sister's, but that uncertainty was one more reason for why he didn't want to have to deal with Cara until he had thought out all of these thoughts. He was apparently only allowed so much luck in twenty-four hours though, because by the time he had made it up the first two flights of stairs, he spotted his sister heading down towards him. There was no where to run, so he had to acknowledge her with a half smile. "Hey."

"Nice of you to show your face here after disappearing last night. For all I knew, you died or were kidnapped."

"You were being a bitch for no reason and it was getting annoying. I didn't know I needed to ask for permission to leave and go to dad's."

"I still can't believe you did that. That was really screwed up. I don't have time to educate you on what family values are right now, though. I have places to be."

"Have fun." He allowed her to walk past him before he continued walking up the stairs. The conversation wasn't very pleasant, but it was short, and that was good enough for him. He was glad that his sister's plans, whatever they were, were important enough to give him a pass on dealing with her attitude for the moment. He didn't know if Brooklyn was going to be in the apartment, and he didn't know if he was supposed to talk to her or do anything if she did happen to be there. Upon entering the apartment, he saw that his stepmother's desserts were there, but her bedroom door was closed. Whether she was in there or not was unknown to him, but he was too scared to knock and find out. Instead, he just went into his own bedroom, kicked off his shoes and crashed on his bed. He wasn't too tired, but tired enough where he would be able to lay down peacefully for a little while, even if he didn't fall asleep.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Normally he'd be grateful for sleeping for twelve hours. The revitalized and livened feelings in his muscle would have been welcomed had he not wanted to sleep in later. Even while he slept, he could feel the back of his throat beginning to ache. He wanted to be able to sleep through to avoid the problem that much longer, but when he heard Ryan shuffle around for a few minutes after simply lying in bed for about twenty minutes, he knew trying to doze off would be futile, so he got up. Roman didn't feel so terrible, but he knew that within the next day or two, he would be sick. It was either an achy ear or throat that were the telltale signs that he was coming down with something. As a kid he'd been prone to getting sick, and sleeping with the window open when it was nearly December was just a recipe for something disastrous. His phone read 11:30, which was only more annoying. He preferred waking up in the evening. When he woke up before noon, there was just too much time to waste. Never mind that he was already a grumpy person when he woke up, once feeling under the weather was adding into the equation, it just made everything that much more worse.

After closing the window, he looked over towards where Ryan lay in bed. He momentarily wondered where the kid had disappeared to. There wasn't any reason he would have thought that his disappearance had some type of involvement with Brooke's, but looking at him did make him remember that he still hadn't heard from her. Killens didn't acknowledge the increments of hypocrisy he was displaying as he worried about Brooke being gone for some hours when just the previous morning he had make a joke out of Nick and Brooke's concern over him being gone for days without word. His own frustration with her only exemplified how hypocritical he was being, but when he did start to display some type of caring towards Brooke, it was easy to address those feelings when they were misplaced into anger and annoyance, something he was used to feeling around Brooklyn. He told himself that she could have gone off to work, but that was a really far fetched idea considering she hadn't said anything about that. Even if that was a possibility, she was normally back by then. And she might've been; she could just be being quiet. Roman exited the bedroom just to knock on Nick and Brooklyn's, ultimately with no answer. Roman rolled his eyes as he went back to grab his phone. He didn't have time to be worrying about this girl, he told himself as if he was doing some good deed that wasn't required of him. He sent Nick and Brooke a text.

To: Nick
Have you heard from Brooke yet?

To: Brooke:
Would you kindly confirm that you're not chopped into little pieces in someone's freezer?

Roman realized he didn't have much reason to be annoyed with her since it wasn't just common but normal for him to vanish for days on end. He had a strong to tendency to do so after fights as well, which was probably the worst time to actually go missing. He didn't intentionally do it to cause any concern, and he thought he was fairly decent at making sure people thought he wasn't dead, but that was really just him telling himself what he wanted to hear, and not what was necessarily true. He had his reasons, he told himself. After waiting a few seconds and getting impatient, he decided he'd go out for something to eat. He knew there were leftovers in the fridge, but he had a taste for McDonald's, and in general he just wanted to get out of the apartment. He knew breakfast was over, but he could still find something on the menu that he wouldn't mind eating. By the time he was dressed and heading out the door, he received a text from Brooke. It was a picture of the gym. He grumbled to himself, trying to pretend that he wasn't relieved to hear back from as he placed his phone back in his pocket and headed down the steps. He texted Nick as he walked.

To: Nick
Never mind. She just texted me.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West
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Standing outside of the building waiting for Brooklyn made Nick restless after a while, so he started walking again. He didn't need anything in particular, so he just turned down streets that looked less busy than others and wandered, for the most part. He stopped in a liquor store, returned to the apartment briefly to pick up some drugs, made a couple of sales, and then returned to the apartment. It was somewhere around one-thirty then, but when he got into building, he stopped halfway up the stairs that led to the second floor and sat down. He didn't want to get drunk, but he needed something to make him feel like he wasn't dead. He could have smoked, but that meant that he would have had to either go back to his apartment and deal with potentially facing Cara and/or Brooklyn when he now wasn't prepared, or texting Makayla and going to her apartment. He didn't want to socialize at the moment, though, and after impulsively buying whiskey at the store, it seemed like the best option. He sat there for a few minutes before the door to the stairwell opened and Brooklyn began walking towards him. "Brooke! You're here." He was really just thinking out loud at that point, caught off guard by her presence even though her being there should have been completely expected. He put the bottle down quickly as he stood up, scrambling to collect his thoughts on what he wanted to say again.

By the time that she saw Nick sitting on the stairs, it was too late to turn around and leave. "Yup." She brushed past him in an irritated manner. She could feel the anger in her brewing and she hated it. Normally, it was something that she didn't think twice about because it was just the way that she reacted to things, but this situation was incomparable to any other time when she had reason to be angry. She wasn't even trying to play the victim card, but she knew that if Nick struck a cord in her that made her want to lash out at him, she would have less of a case for him being a piece of shit, because she would probably end up physically attacking him. Besides that, she also didn't want to feel that anger right now. She wanted to think that she had already faced and addressed all of the emotions she needed to associate with this situation, when she clearly hadn't. She wanted to be as over it and nonchalant with Nick as she had been with Roman earlier, but just seeing his face now made her feel like tears were going to begin to well up in her eyes. She had poured too much of her trust and happiness into Nick, and that was where she had went wrong. For the first time in years, she had invested herself and opened herself up to someone, just to be reminded that that was the most self-detrimental behavior she could engage in. This was why it was easier to be cold and hard, because no one could hurt you. Sometimes it meant that you hurt other people, but that was better than being the vulnerable one who got hurt.

He understood why she didn't want to see him or talk to him, but they needed to talk. Doing it in the stairwell wasn't the ideal place, but in his opinion, it beat doing it in the apartment where Roman, Cara and Ryan would possibly be. In reality, Roman and Ryan being there wouldn't have even been an issue. What made him feel so uneasy was doing it anywhere that Cara might be. "Wait, can we talk?" He reached out and gently grabbed onto her arm, only to have her pull away instantly.

"Don't touch me. Don't touch me ever again," Brooklyn snapped, resisting her urge to kick backwards into him as she continued walking up the stairs. She had pretended for two weeks that she didn't know about Nick and Cara, but now that she had admitted to knowing, she was feeling it more. A lot more. And she didn't want Nick's hands, that had been all over Cara, on her ever again.

"Brooklyn, I get that you're upset. I fucked up really badly but it was all a big mistake. Can you just give me a minute to explain myself?" Nick pleaded, following a couple of steps behind her. His heart was racing and he wished that he had downed that whiskey in larger gulps before she had gotten here. Though he wanted her to give him a chance to explain, he didn't know what he was going to even say if she did give him that chance.

She stopped walking and spun around to face him. The height difference that being up two steps gave her made her feel more comfortable, like she was finally regaining some power and that she didn't need to start crying right there like she wanted to do. "What is there to explain, Nick? You fucking slept with her and then you didn't even have to decency to own up to it. Someone who's basically a stranger let me in on the whole thing. Do you know how fucking humiliating that is? When everyone else in the building knows that your boyfriend is fucking other girls and you have no clue? Go fuck yourself. I don't want to hear what you have to say." It seemed like a good closing line, one that made her point, so she spun back around and continued up the stairs. She was proud of herself for not getting physical, but she also knew that if he kept following from behind, that could quickly change. Leaving at that moment felt right for that reason, and because she knew that if they kept talking, she would start to choke up and get emotional, and that was the absolute last thing she wanted to do in that moment. Instead, she kept walking up each flight of stairs, and barely noticed Ryan outside of 5B's door as she stormed into 5C, and then into her bedroom, where she locked the door and collapsed onto her bed in tears.

"Come on, that's not fair. Brooke... Brooke!" She was gone, and he wasn't going to chase her. His relationship with Brooklyn was an interesting one, but it was not one of those relationships where chasing after her and professing his incomparable love was going to change anything. It was a real relationship, not one out of a fairy tale book. At this point, it wasn't even a relationship, though. She hadn't specifically said that they were over, but that didn't need to be said with everything else she said. If the stairwell's wall didn't look like it was made out of concrete, Nick would have punched it. He hated feeling this out of control and helpless, and those feelings led to him feeling enraged. He had dug his own grave here and he knew it, but he wished that there was someone he could place the blame on. What he really wished was that he could run after Brooklyn and tell her that it was all a lie, and that that would actually be the truth, but that obviously was not going to happen. So for now, he needed someone to place the blame on. It wouldn't do any good in the situation as a whole, but it would make him feel better temporarily, he thought.

When he had clearly been the one in the most wrong, it was hard to come up some reasonable thought process to place the blame elsewhere, but Brooklyn's comment about finding out about all of this from a stranger resonated in him a little bit. Since he had not told anyone about the affair, it had to have been Cara. Aside from Ryan, Cara was close with Makayla, Holly and Chanel. Brooklyn had enough of a relationship with Makayla and Holly (albeit it a bad one) that they didn't seem like people she would call strangers, but Chanel could easily be a stranger. And Chanel, from what he knew, was actually friends with Cara. It made the most sense that Cara would confide in Chanel about all of this over anyone else. Chanel seemed like a nice girl too, from what Nick knew through their infrequent interactions when he dealt to her, so it didn't seem absurd that she might have enough of a conscience to try to talk to Brooklyn about all of this. In his very agitated state, he felt like texting Chanel personally and asking her why the fuck she would do that, or maybe going through Cara first, but even an enraged Nick wasn't that confrontational. Instead, he figured that Makayla might know something about it, so he texted her.

To: Makayla
Want to smoke?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Kacey Rogers Character Portrait: Colton King
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#, as written by Bandit
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On the walk back home, Makayla and Holly made a quick stop at a Kmart that they passed. Makayla had an assortment of personal care items that she needed, but she didn't have the money to spend on any of them right now, and assured herself that they weren't really needed this minute. She pushed that list into the back of her mind and went in just wanting to pick up lemonade. She knew that they had ran out the day before, and although she had no recollection of Cara purchasing any the night before, even if she did, she wasn't going to expect Cara to just hand that to them. Her SNAP benefits were gone for the month so she had to pay with cash, which made her all the more resistant of going into the store with Holly, because she knew that Holly was going to want something else too, and that meant more cash out of her pocket. Despite telling Holly that they were only going in for lemonade, it only took a few minutes inside the store for Holly to disappear from her side and then reappear when she was on line, with some toy in her hand. "Can I get this?" she asked, eagerly waving the package of Shopkins in front of Makayla's face. The answer was going to be no regardless of what they were, but Makayla humored Holly by taking the toy from her for a moment, looking at it, and then handing it back to her with a shake of her head. "No, put it back where you found it."

Although walking along The Highline wasn't fun in the same sense that going to see a movie was, Holly had had a nice couple of hours with Makayla. They passed a bunch of dogs, saw a lady wearing a shirt that had a bunch of Disney characters on it, and walked past Holly's school, which was only good because it reminded her of how lucky she was to not be in there. Just in general, though, it wasn't difficult to please Holly. As long as she had someone to talk to and was getting a change of scenery, she was usually content. Going into Kmart on the way home made her even more excited though. She had nodded along when Makayla tried to stress that they were only going in to get lemonade, but as soon as Makayla headed towards the drinks, Holly wandered off. Her attention had first been caught on all of the Christmas candies that were already out, even though it was only a day after Thanksgiving. She wandered down that aisle, picking up a box of candy canes, only to set it down on a random shelf when she got to the toy section. It usually wasn't the actual toys that caught her eye, so much as it was the bright colors and cute cartoon faces on the packages. That was what led her to put down the candy in exchange for a package of Shopkins that she managed to hold onto until she found Makayla on line. She was sure that Makayla would like the cute little figurines as much as she did, so when her sister told her she couldn't get it, she was sure that she had to be mistaken. "Please? Kay, look! One of them is a little carrot with a face on it. Isn't it so funny?"

"Yeah, put it back though." She tried to be nice. She really did. Even feeling like she was being repeatedly stabbed in the head, she tried to smile and offer a half-hearted laugh at the stupid little figurines with faces, while insisting Holly put it down. It was sometimes hard, but Makayla really always did try to be patient with Holly. There were days, like last night, when she would reach her limit and snap, but she tried to be calm and collected. She knew that Holly's rambunctious tendencies were ones that she couldn't control and she always meant well, and really, if Makayla had the money to waste on stupid shit like this, she would. She was only saying no because she didn't have the money. She was already buying a bottle of lemonade over shampoo. She wasn't going to toss fifteen dollars to the wind for little pieces of plastic that would be lost within ten minutes of Holly opening it.

"Please can I get it?"

"That stuff is for babies, Holly. For little kids. You don't need that. I'm already getting you the lemonade. "

"But I just want this. I'll give it to Brooklyn when she has a baby, okay? I'll just keep it until then, then I'll give it to her. And it actually says it's for ages five and up, so that's not for babies, Kay. Please?" The Brooklyn having a baby part was definitely pulled out of thin air, but in Holly's head, it seemed like a good plan of action if Makayla really thought that were toys for babies.

"Put it down." Still, she tried not get angry at Holly's refusal to listen for once and kept her voice calm as she looked at Holly.

"Why?"

"I don't have money to waste on stupid stuff, Holly. I'm not paying fifteen dollars for twelve little pieces of plastic." They still weren't at the register yet, so she had time to convince Holly that she needed to put it down before Holly shoved it onto the counter while she was paying... or so she wished. Of course, Holly didn't respect that "put it down" and just as she asked "why?", the cashier called for the next customer, which was them.

"But they have faces!" Holly protested, only slightly offended at Makayla calling them stupid, since looking at the toy again made her want to laugh.

"Please put it down, Holly. My head hurts. I don't have the energy to argue with you today."

That was all it took for Holly's attention to switch, and she stuck the toy on a neighboring display before following Makayla to the cashier. Normally, she would have tried to strike up a conversation with the person ringing up their items, or ask if she could purchase one of the candies on the shelves below the register, but now she wanted to talk about Makayla's headache. "Want me to give you a head massage when we get home?"

"No, it's not hurting that badly. I just need you to start listening," Makayla said, trying to smile at Holly and the cashier as she forked over four dollars for the lemonade.

Holly seized the plastic bag the second that the cashier placed it on the counter. "What are we gonna have for lunch?" she asked a minute later as she took the lead as they headed out of the store.

"Are you actually hungry? Or are you gonna tell me you want something and then not eat it after I make it?"

"Why would I do that?" She laughed, a little bit knowingly, and a little bit just because.

Twenty minutes later, they were back on the fifth floor of their apartment building, and Makayla was going through her usual ritual of searching for her key in her bag, typically able to find everything except for the key she needed. She eventually found it and unlocked the door, saying, "Put that in the fridge and then we'll figure out what we have to eat, okay?" as she let Holly walk inside first. Earlier, she had gotten a text from Cara and a few minutes ago, one from Nick, but she only answered Nick's, since Cara's didn't really warrant a response. She answered Nick with, "I wish but after last night I think I need to be totally sober for a few days :(". She doubted that goal would actually be reached, but with it in mind, she had only smiled at Nick when they passed him on the way up. She couldn't engage in too much talk because Holly was racing up the stairs, but also because she knew if she even allowed herself to second guess not smoking, she would change her mind.

Holly got a few feet inside before noticing that not only was Kacey still in the apartment, but the boy from last night was too. "I told you Kacey would still be here!" Holly exclaimed, barely taking a second to glance back at Makayla before placing the bag with the lemonade down on the floor and hurrying over to the couch where Colton sat, and Kacey stood beside. "We're back," she announced, as if it weren't obvious. "Did you make your cinnamon rolls yet? Because it doesn't smell like cinnamon rolls." It smelled like food, but not sweet and sugary food. "I remember you from Cara's house but I don't remember your name. Are you Kacey's brother?" As she stepped around to the front side of the couch, she noticed the tattoos on his arm as she tried to figure out what he was eating. "Makayla has tattoos like you. Want to show him, Kay?"

Makayla knew that all of this was coming the moment that she noticed that they weren't alone in the apartment too, but she tried to give herself a few seconds to hope that Holly wouldn't be too intrusive as she picked up the shopping bag from the floor and put the lemonade into the fridge. After that, as Holly called out to her about her tattoos, she knew well enough to go over there. "Hey guys," she said, offering a sincere smile to Kacey, who she still felt like she needed to be grateful to, for being understanding about whatever had went on the night before, and then to the guy on their couch. Holly had asked if he was Kacey's brother which was obviously a moronic question, but Makayla wondered what his relationship to Kacey was, if Holly had also said something about him being at Cara's last night. Boyfriend seemed like a likely role, and just looking at him, Makayla couldn't blame Kacey. "Come on, Holl. Let's make lunch. What did you say you wanted again?" She tried to usher Holly away from the pair and hoped that changing her train of thought might do the trick to get her back into the kitchen.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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Cara was glad that Chanel followed her. She didn't want her to have to be alone with the girls, and she didn't want there to be a possibility that she would have to come back up to the spa area to retrieve her after she got dressed. It wasn't like Cara disliked the girls or was sincerely angry at them, but when she was over something, she was over it. And she was definitely over this spa day. Chanel being there had been interesting and Cara appreciated the day because now she knew that she could bring Chanel around the girls without their being judgement or non-acceptance. While today, Cara had felt like she had to be on her toes to make sure nothing happened, she knew it was probably unneeded and that the stress would diminish if she kept inviting Chanel around. However, she didn't even know if Chanel actually liked them. What's not to like? she wondered immediately, but the second thoughts followed that up with her knowing that there were at least a few unfavorable characteristics about the girls. She mostly didn't want to acknowledge that because she knew that she possessed some of those too. "I actually don't even know what she was talking about," Cara admitted as she led Chanel into the locker room. "If I had to guess, my dad probably just made it up. Growing up, Ryan was always... a disappointment. And I know that sounds mean, but it's not even me talking. Like, he just wasn't the son that our dad wanted. Ryan never wanted to play any sports, like... okay, I was friends with people, and my dad was friends with their dad, and then Ryan was friends with the weirdos. You know what I mean? Like... he was just weird and my dad feels like he has to compensate for that when he's around his friends because obviously we don't want everyone knowing that Ryan is so weird." Really, that was what Cara believed. The possibility of him bringing a girl back to the apartment, especially without Cara knowing, was just nonexistent. He didn't have any female friends, nonetheless blonde ones, or ones that her father would approve of.

Chanel had been ready, and even a little bit anxious, for possible gossip. It wasn't that she didn't get any from the other girls earlier, but it didn't apply to her, and she was still a bit cautious about not messing up to where she couldn't really enjoy the environment that she flourished in under normal circumstances. She was sure that Cara would have a lot to say, and it had to be good if they were going somewhere private for it. Chanel was instantly more comfortable when they stepped into the locker room, something she actually wasn't very comfortable with itself. She wasn't used to that tension arising from social interaction. That usually only happened under opposite circumstances--when she wasn't around people enough or when she wasn't the center of attention as much as she 'needed' to be. As she gathered her clothes, she was expecting the remainder of that tension to flow our of her as Cara spoke, but instead it actually intensified. Chanel didn't know Ryan well, especially not as well as she knew Cara, whom Chanel was still finding more stuff out about everyday. So it wasn't even out of basic respect for Ryan that caused her to remain quiet through the duration of Cara's speech. What kept her silent was the trigger of her words. In that moment, Cara reminded Chanel too much of herself, too much of her own situation. The very situation she was trying to ignore. The very situation that was the reason she was not only in this city, but in this room. She pushed the thoughts of her brother out of her mind, trying to separate the two scenarios, but it proved futile, as no words came out when she opened her mouth. She swallowed and shrugged some, shaking her head slightly. "Yeah," she said while she fiddled awkwardly. "I don't know."

Cara could sense Chanel's awkwardness in her response, but she had no idea what the true origin of it was. Instead, she just thought that Chanel was sympathizing for her and the position it put her in, trying to cover up for her dad's lie and having a weird brother to her friends. Plus, she knew that Chanel, while incredibly dramatic, also had a good heart. She probably felt weird trashing Ryan, especially when the two had socialized more than they ever probably had, the day before, preparing the Thanksgiving food. "Yeah, it's whatever I guess. You probably know what I mean, having brothers and all," Cara sighed as she unlocked her locker. There were private changing stalls on the other side of the locker room but since it sounded like it was just she and Chanel in there, she didn't bother with them, and shed her robe there before putting her clothes back on. "Like, I wish my dad didn't put me into weird positions like that because obviously they want the details on this made up girl, but I see where he's coming from. I don't know, hopefully Ryan gets his act together soon. Or just comes out as gay because you were actually so right. I think that's like, trendy, or something nowadays." Once she was fully clothed, she sat down on one of the stools and with a bit of a struggle, got her shoes on. "I feel like that spa day was totally refreshing and well needed though, don't you think?" She glanced at her phone briefly, reading the message that Chanel had sent, and inwardly approving of it. "Makayla never answered, but that's fine. I don't even care, but next time you talk to her, if it comes up, make her feel like she was soooooo out of line, okay?"

Still without word, Chanel got ready to leave. She felt another sense of relief--she had lost count how many times such had happened today--when Cara redirected the subject elsewhere. She couldn't ever admit just how right Cara was, though, when she pointed out that Chanel likely knew what Cara was talking about since they both had brothers. There were many things that Chanel had to be cognizant about, and that which she didn't pay mind to was by choice and not without consequence. Cara was fortunate to not have to worry about money, for instance. She could be oblivious to actually need. And while it was something that Chanel tried to partake in, she couldn't be oblivious to everything. There were time where it made her jealous of Cara, but she didn't expect it to show itself in this circumstance. Cara had no way of knowing why Chanel had gotten so quiet, and she didn't seem to dwell on it much, which Chanel was grateful for. But part of her wish that Cara knew, not for Chanel's own benefit where actually talking about her problems could prove great therapy. It was really for selfish reasons. She wanted to see not be able to ignore something without even realizing it. Of course, there was an easy fix: just telling her. But that made too much sense. That was too front forward. So instead she would just misdirect her own insecurities into silent frustrations over differences in life circumstance that were blossoming in the face of her greatest problem. "Yeah, don't worry. I totally will. But it probably shouldn't even be, like, hard or whatever. She already seemed pretty sorry. But I'll make sure there's no shadow of a doubt that she feels bad." Chanel fluffed out her hair, coming through any small tangles as gently as she could so as not to mess up her manicure. As she checked them to make sure they were okay, she looked back at Cara. "Ready, chica? I feel so refreshed. I'm like brand new."

"Definitely. Let's go," Cara nodded, smiling some as she tossed her bag over her shoulder and followed Chanel out of the locker room. They made a quick stop at the front desk where Cara covered their tab for the day, and then headed out. Cara slipped her sunglasses on before they stepped foot outside, not wanting any squinting or abrupt facial movements to ruin the soft, smooth way her skin was feeling from that facial. "Ugh, I forgot to call for a car. Should we just take a cab?"

"Yeah. Cab's fine. I think I have hand sanitizer in my purse, so I'll give you some when we get in. I'm not trying to touch the seats, and then my face, and then break out. I would literally give you permission to kill me." After flagging down a cab, they made the ride back to the apartment. For it to feel like so much had happened, it was still early on in the afternoon. On most occasions it seemed as thought time eluded her, but now that she was actually fatigued from the day's events, she wanted the day to be over sooner and so subsequently it was moving slower. Granted, there were many things she could do with the rest of her day. She could go tot he gym, she could look for some holiday openings at retail stores, or just look for jobs in general. She could see if she found any online listings that could keep her occupied and paid her well enough. But she didn't want to do any of that. So she just scrolled aimlessly on her phone, not saying much on the ride. She'd gotten a few texts from other friends about possibly wanting to smoke. She hadn't said anything yet, and even found the invitations odd before she remembered that now would probably be the best time. The day after Thanksgiving, it was hard for the munchies to go unanswered. Chanel didn't figure that to be a better use of her time, and she wasn't going to join them, but even she wanted to, she couldn't because she didn't have any bud. It had been a while since she'd smoked, and while she really just wanted to retire for the day, she wouldn't mind blazing in private. She knew a few people, but Nick was her go to plug, so she decided to text him to see if he had anything.

To: Nick
Hey! Are you taking orders? You know. For that 'grass' ;)

Texting him made her remember that she'd never gotten caught up with Cara about him. She knew that Cara was excited about Nick coming to the dinner last night, and since that went terribly, she wasn't sure how everything else was affected. Chanel couldn't recall Cara and Nick talking much at all yesterday, but she figured it wouldn't hurt to ask, especially since she'd been relatively quiet the majority of the ride. As they mounted the steps, Chanel turned to her. "So did you and Nick even talk at all last night? Wasn't the whole point of the dinner like a cover up for you to actually seduce him with sexual favors and turkey?"

The car ride was fairly quiet, but at least in Cara's opinion, it wasn't in an uncomfortable sort of way. Spa days always left Cara feeling relaxed, but tired. She didn't feel exhausted or weighed down with that tiredness, but she always just left feeling like she wanted to go home, drink some tea, and rest for the rest of the day. Although she had leftovers that she wanted Chanel to bring back to her apartment, judging by Chanel's unusual quietness, she guessed that the girl was in a similar state as her, and would probably want to just go back to her own apartment immediately. That was fine with Cara, since she knew she could easily send Ryan across the hall later in the day with the leftovers. It was a Friday, which usually meant that Makayla would work at night, so Cara knew that there was a possibility that she would be in Chanel's apartment later on, anyway. Even though she was feeling passive aggressive towards Makayla, it wasn't to an extent where she was going to retract her offer to look after Holly when it was needed and she wasn't busy. Not only did she know that that would really increase Makayla's struggle, but she also didn't mind looking after Holly. It was tiring sometimes but Cara liked feeling like she had a purpose, and taking care of Holly for a few hours at a time made her feel useful without feeling too stressed out.

On the way inside, Chanel brought up Nick, which made Cara smile, even if it sort of was a guilty one. "You're literally too much," she said first, finding it impossible to suppress her giggles at the way Chanel had worded that. "But no, I didn't even say like, one word to him. Between Makayla and then Roman stealing him to go get the lemonade, I don't even know what happened. I don't think he even came back after he left with Roman. Like, just my luck that Roman came back and Nick didn't."

"The world is out to get you, I swear." Chanel continued up the stairs with her, grabbing Cara's arm in the next second as another thought came to my mind. "Oh. My. God. I did not tell you what happened yesterday with me and him. So, like, I was at your door with all the food. But my hands were crazy full and I couldn't knock. So I was literally knocking with my forehead and then Roman seriously saw-- Is that Nick?" Chanel said when they got closer to the figure on the stairwell. Her attention redirected too quickly, and her mouth moved even quicker, before she was able to completely take in the scene before her. Had she taken a few more seconds, she probably wouldn't have been as chipper as she was now. "Hey, Nick. Did you get my text mes...Wow. That's a lot of juice for just one person," she said once she finally took in his presence on the steps and the bottle of alcohol in his hand. Chanel had a tendency to talk without thinking, and essentially pointing out how pathetic someone looked didn't make the matter any better, but she didn't she any harm with her words as she looked at him.

Even Cara would have imagined that had she had the chance to talk to Nick outside of the apartment, where she didn't have to worry about Brooklyn hearing, she would have seized it. However, the second that Chanel paused in her story about Roman and asked if the figure on the stairs was Nick, Cara felt her heart skip a beat. She had wanted to talk to him... but she didn't want to now. Her nerves were suddenly getting the best of her, and it wasn't even because she had promised him not to tell anyone about them and she knew she had done wrong by telling Chanel about it... and Makayla... but mostly Chanel, now. She didn't know what else it was, but it made her want to run up to her apartment at lightning speed and not talk to him. The fact that he had a bottle of alcohol in his hand might have played a role in her suddenly being turned off. She was attracted to the bad boy side of him that she saw, but there was a fine line between being someone who seemed dangerous enough to give her an adrenaline rush, and someone who just looked... hopeless. That was what he looked like. He expression seemed blank, his posture poor, and something about his body language made him look somber. It gave her bad vibes, so much so that Cara didn't even slow down as she walked towards the stairs, not even when Chanel had said something about a text message. "I have to go... do something. I'll text you later, Nelle!" Cara said in a borderline frantic manner as she hurried up the stairs. It hadn't seemed like Chanel was settling at the bottom of the steps to have a conversation with Nick, but Cara didn't even want to wait for a one word exchange. She wanted out of there, and fast.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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The universe seemed to be against Nick today, because minutes after Brooklyn left him on the stairs, Makayla and Holly came through, and then Cara and Chanel. The first two weren't very bothersome, with Nick offering them a polite nod and setting the bottle down so as not to give Holly anything to talk about later on, but Nick was disappointed that Makayla wasn't interested in smoking. He didn't feel like he needed to smoke with her, per se, but he didn't feel comfortable talking to her in depth when they weren't smoking. It would feel awkward and uncomfortable, even with the alcohol in him, and so, he knew he would have to wait to ask Makayla if she thought that Chanel might have suddenly befriended Brooklyn until some other time. Makayla declining a free smoke session was unusual to begin with, so Nick doubted that she would actually fulfill her desire to go days without smoking. He'd hit her up again later on that day, thinking that by then, she would have tossed sobriety to the wind. The second pair that came into the stairwell was what really reminded him of his bad luck. He had dealt with Brooklyn, and now, the last person he wanted to deal with was Cara. Again, he knew that he only had himself to blame for this mess, but he was in too deep with this love triangle and he didn't know what to do or how to handle it. He was beyond relieved when she kept walking, leaving Chanel standing in front of him, but the relief lasted for just a few seconds before he realized that she was going back up to the apartment that Brooklyn was in. He couldn't imagine that Brooklyn would continue to keep Cara out of the loop, and knowing Brooklyn, her bringing Cara into the loop likely meant that he was going to see paramedics running up the stairs in a couple of minutes. What kept him sitting down and reaching for the bottle once again was partially that he knew he was being dramatic, and partially that he knew that him being there when Brooklyn confronted Cara would probably only make things worse.

"Yeah, I guess it is," Nick answered after another slug of the whiskey. It might have looked like a lot for one person, but it sure didn't feel like it. He set the bottle down and processed what Chanel had started to say before Cara left, and glanced at his phone. He was only seeing her text message now, and after putting it back in his pocket, he looked towards her again. "How much do you need?" He didn't sound hostile or angry, not even hesitant or suspicious. He was, since Chanel still seemed like the only possible person who could have told Brooklyn about all of this, but he wasn't going to miss a sale over it until he was sure it had been her. He probably sounded tired and a little out of it too, but he didn't even need to speak for that to be made apparent.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno
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Chanel only got a start of what she was going to say before Cara hurried up the steps. She had begun to follow her, but was still confused enough by her quick exit that she remained standing as she watched her leave. If she hadn't had any intentions to talk to Nick, she would have gone with Cara, but even if she did decide that Nick could wait, Cara was already gone. Her moment of daftness resolved itself when she turned back to Nick with a strained smile. Duh, she thought to herself. She couldn't say she really knew too much about the relationship--or lack thereof--between Nick and Cara, but now that the circumstance of the scenario was setting in, she had half the nerve to leave to. Part of it was because she didn't peg Cara to be the one to get flustered and scurry. Chanel knew that earlier Cara hadn't said that she was completely doting over him, and even to her it seemed like Cara was just caught up in surface infatuation. Which, at least for Nick's case, was not a hard thing for one to find themselves in. But seeing Cara leave so suddenly made Chanel question, just for a second, whether Cara actually did have feelings for him--feelings deeper than she was ready to commit to. Or, and much more likely, Chanel's hopeless romantic side was revealing itself.

She couldn't let herself get too carried away in the idea, though, but only because she had already started talking to Nick. She'd nag Cara about leaving Chanel in 'such an awkward situation,' even though Chanel wasn't feeling too weird. Inevitably, there was an air of tension about her that came from knowing something she had to pretend not to know. She wasn't too worried though. If there was one thing she was good at, it was bullshitting. Her previous excursion had her drained, but around familiar people and in familiar territory, she felt a bit rekindled, and for Nick, she probably seemed like the same old Chanel. Not the one who'd grown oddly quiet over the course of the afternoon.

After having begun to follow Cara, she backtracked down a few steps until she was on the platform and in front of Nick. She pondered for a second before shrugging. She considered splurging a bit, but ultimately decided against it. She didn't even need it that badly despite her stash being good as empty. "I dunno," she began. Chanel was close to thinking for even longer just so she could continue to look at Nick. Even if he did look pretty sad sitting here alone with a bottle of whiskey, he still looked damned good. The thought process really only showed how incapable Chanel could be at sympathizing with other people, but to her, it wasn't her fault he was handsome. "Maybe like a gram or something? Yeah," she added to herself more than anything. Chanel bounced on her feet some and readjusted her pursing, shuffling through it as though she were looking for something. She probably should have stuck to minding her own business, but she told herself that it would be rude not to inquire. And if she was on the road to being a better person, then she should definitely get into the habit of being concerned of others' well-being, even if it was more so to suit her own needs. "You okay? You seem kind of...well..." Instead of finishing, she gestured her hand to him, waving it up and down as though she were displaying something to someone. "This."

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno
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Nick felt hollow. The anger and rage was slowly seeping out of him, but it didn't leave him feeling sad or hopeless in that moment. He just felt nothing. Like he was empty or didn't exist. Had Chanel not still been there, talking to him, the mood would have only been solidified because he could have really felt like nothing more than a ghost. Part of him wanted that right now. To not exist. To say he was feeling suicidal would be a stretch because he wasn't looking to kill himself, but he definitely didn't want to be alive when this was his reality. His entire world had just come crashing down on him, and no matter what that voice of rage in his head told him, the only person that he had to blame for all of this was himself. If he wanted to kill any part of himself, it was definitely whoever it had been that had possessed him on that night that he had slept with Cara, because it definitely wasn't who he was now. Cara was an incredibly attractive girl in more ways than one, he wasn't going to deny that, and yeah, had Brooklyn never been in the picture, he might have considered tapping that, but Brooklyn was in the picture. She was in the picture before that night, on that night and after that night, and no matter how hard he tried to tell himself that they had been on a break and he wasn't technically dating Brooke that night, he knew it was a bad excuse. How many other times had they gotten into a screaming match, "broken up", and then ended up in bed together hours later? This fight had barely been any different, and yet Nick reacted in such an impulsive and moronic way, that there was no way to excuse his act of infidelity.

He should have expected Chanel's followup question when he didn't respond immediately to her request for a gram. He made eye contact with her for the first time since she and Cara had came into the building as he responded, shaking his head slightly. "I know that Cara already told you about her and I, but I guess one of you told Brooke, and now she knows and my relationship is over." Though he still was in a self-pitying mood, at least a bit, his voice didn't hint at him trying to blame her for telling Brooklyn because he didn't even know if he should believe that now. He sounded empty, maybe defeated, if anything. He didn't have it in him to try to even lighten things up by saying that Brooklyn was probably up there murdering Cara now, because there was a chance that that wouldn't even be a joke. It was one of the reasons why he genuinely wanted to stay on these steps for the rest of the night, and maybe even pass out there after finishing his whiskey. "I guess I should have seen it coming. It was my fault for doing it in the first place, and I guess I had more to lose than Cara anyway, so I can't blame her for telling you guys. I just... I don't know." He didn't feel comfortable really opening up to anyone, and he still wasn't sharing his most inner feelings right now, but it still felt strange to be telling this to someone who was really just an acquaintance. At this point, he was convinced that she already knew all of this anyway, even if she didn't play the direct role in it that he somewhat believed she had, so he didn't think that he had much to lose. While he did not want to deal with whatever he had convinced himself was unfolding upstairs, he didn't think he had any other option. He was going to have to deal with it at some point, and now, when he had money on line, seemed like as good of a time as ever. "I can grab that for you now, if you want. Just a gram, you said?"

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Kacey Rogers Character Portrait: Colton King
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Chanel could feel her heart skip a beat when Nick mentioned being aware of Cara saying something to her. For a second this took her off guard. How the hell did he know? Cara couldn't have said anything. She literally told her about it less than twenty-four hours ago, and had barely spoken to Nick between then and now--at least as far as her knowledge went. Nick proceeded to talk in an almost lifeless state which was actually more alarming than she would have expected it to be. He wasn't very rambunctious and emotionally charged as she was. In fact, she would say him and Roman favored each other and it kind of made sense as to why they were friends. Chanel thought Roman was a total scrub, and that Nick was a gorgeous gift from heaven, but it was that bias that probably clouded the intersection the two of them had. Had this been Roman on the steps, she wouldn't have cared, and she knew that for a fact. But for some reason, she wasn't as affected by Nick's sight either. Not on the surface, at least. She didn't say anything until she began to follow up the stairs behind him. "Yeah, a gram," she said before her mind went back to her initial thought.

When they got to the top floor, Chanel grabbed Nick's arm, pulling him some to stop him and face her. "Hey," she said calmly. Chanel knew freaking out would be a dead give away that Nick was right. But she still couldn't work out what he knew and how, so she figured playing around that would be the safest bet. Just as he had no reason to believe her, she had no reason to believe him. "Look... I'm sorry about whatever's going on between you and...whoever. But Cara didn't tell me shit. You've known her longer than me, so you should know better than I do that she wouldn't go blabbing off to some girl she just gets manicures with. We're not close like that. I only found out a few seconds ago--when you said something." Lies. Nothing but lies, but it didn't feel weird telling them. If anything, she liked it because it was one of her strong suits. She could feign innocence without batting an eye. It was much too easy to fall into this state again, and normally she tried to keep herself from doing so, but being around Cara's friends had in a way recharged that part of her that she had kept compressed. And if today was a day of indulgences, then she figured why not this too? "Cara has never said anything to me, so I don't think she would have said anything to Brooke either. Honestly, I don't know who did."

Makayla, she thought. But she wasn't going to throw Makayla under the bus. That was too close to home, literally. Chanel still had her reputation at stake, and she still did like Makayla. Maybe she'd save that blackmail for another time, but here, it wasn't necessary or appropriate in her mind. She shrugged as she glanced away and rolled her eyes nonchalantly, more so speaking outside. "I mean, I guess I can think of one other person who's close enough to Brooke and out to get Cara, but..." She looked back at him and shrugged again. In her eyes, she thought she was being clear as to who she was hinting to. And if Nick thought she was talking about Roman, he'd have been right, but if that ever came back to her, she could honest to God say that she'd never pointed a finger. "I don't want to name drop. Especially when I don't have any evidence, which I don't think you do either, right?" She said as she passed him, turning around to walk backwards. She laughed some to take the edge off of her words. "But whatever. Who knows. Your secret's safe with me though." She winked at Nick as she got to the door of her apartment. "Just text me when you've got the stuff, okay? I'll be here."

With that, she entered her apartment, greeted by the smell of a hefty aroma coming from the kitchen. A smile was already in place, but as she looked to see the source of the smell, she smiled wider. "Woah," she said. A quick glance of the room let her know that it was a full house. She didn't mind company, although she couldn't say she was particularly pleased to be seeing any of the people in the room. She didn't want to have to talk to Makayla in private, and she felt there was something awkward between her and Kacey. Not just because of Chanel being drunk last night, but because she was sure that something was happening between her and Colton, who Chanel had definitely flirted with the night before and who was definitely a few feet away on the couch. She didn't show any of that on her face as she went to the fridge and grabbed the water pitcher. "Smells like a restaurant in here." It wasn't above Chanel to ask for some of the lasagna, but she saw the leftovers and favored that over the former. There was just something homey about leftovers at this time, so she began helping herself to that instead. She reminded herself that she should still talk to Makayla, but maybe now wasn't the best time. She still just wanted to smoke and be left alone for a bit. She supposed she could make conversation, so as not to seem odd for not really being chatty, but she was grateful for it appearing that Kacey and Holly and Makayla were talking, so remained quiet and texted Cara.

To: Cara
Your boy just tried coming for me. He was like 'oh har har i know cara told you about us and now brooke knows and she's made at me'

To: Cara

I was like ???????????

To: Cara

But for real. I was like lol except not. I kinda low key implied that it was Roman because that literally doesn't hurt anybody, and i didn't want to tell on Makayla. Especially not after last night, you know?

To: Cara

He's so cute. I like him better when he's not moping with a bottle on the stairs tho

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Nick lived with Cara and Roman, and in a way, you could say that he was close with both of them, so it didn't take long for him to realize what Chanel was implying. It took just as long for him to shoot the idea of what she was saying to be valid, though. Maybe she didn't know, and maybe he had just unnecessarily made himself out to be a jerk to someone else, but he didn't think that Roman had been the one to tell Brooklyn. For one, there was no way that Roman could have found out about it. The night that he had slept with Cara, Nick had adamantly made sure that no one else was in the apartment. Even if Roman had somehow come into the apartment while he was in Cara's room, there was no way that he would have connected the noise coming from behind the door with him. More so, though, Nick trusted Roman. He was like a brother to him at this point. If Roman had suspicions of anything, Nick thought that he would have come to him first. He had to know that Nick was the more level headed of he and Brooke, and going straight to her with suspicions of that would definitely result in a war, even if those suspicions were not confirmed. Like Chanel had said, Cara and Roman hated each other too, so while it did make sense that Roman might try to use this against Cara, it also made sense that in no world would Cara ever spill something like this to him. Never. He refused to believe the claim for another minute, but supposed that it was possible that Chanel really didn't know anything about it. Although he was pretty caught up in his own thoughts at the moment, nothing about her body language or tone seemed to suggest that she was lying. "Yeah, will do," was all that he said. He was more confused now than he had been five minutes ago, but he knew that pressing Chanel on the issue wouldn't do any good, especially now that he was more uncertain on if she actually was the source or knew anything more.

As she shut her apartment door behind her, he turned towards the door across the hall, but stopped midway as he tried to fish his key out of his pocket. Did he really want to go in there? He knew that he wanted to get the drugs for Chanel, so he could make some money, and he knew that he needed to face the two blondes behind the door at some point, but now? He had a thing for putting off his problems, which was evident in more ways than one with the dilemma that he was currently facing. Although he couldn't hear anything going on from where he stood by the door, that didn't necessarily signal relief in him. For all he knew, Brooklyn had killed Cara the minute she walked in and was now silently trying to clean up the place to hide the evidence. If for no other reason, he decided to call Roman to give himself a few more minutes to collect himself before going inside. He paced down the hall a little bit, just far enough where if someone walked by, he wasn't standing directly outside of his own door. It took a moment for Roman to answer, but he eventually did.

"Hello?"

"Hey, man. Are you home?"

"Hey, mate. What? Am I home? Nope. Where are you?"

"Oh, never mind then. I'm on my way home. Look, I'll talk to you later." He hung up almost as soon as the words had escaped his mouth. It might have seemed abrupt and a strange and unnecessary phone call in general, but Nick had quickly realized that talking to Roman wasn't going to bring him any comfort either. He didn't know that Roman knew about all of this, of course, but even the idea of telling it to him himself made him feel uneasy. Because he knew he was wrong. There was no way to spin it into him being justified, and because Roman was just as close with Brooke as he was with him, he knew that the conversation would be a very awkward one. Maybe just as bad as facing the girls would be. In a moment of courage that felt displaced considering his current state, he returned to 5B's door, unlocked it, and entered. Cara and Brooklyn were standing in the kitchen, and though he had walked into silence, the way that Brooklyn's mouth had opened, and then closed when she noticed him coming in, signaled that it was just a momentary thing, and the girls were in the middle of fighting. Nick was never a wordsmith, but he felt beyond speechless as he walked in. There was nothing to say, and he didn't know who to make eye contact with as he impulsively said "I'm sorry, alright? This is my fault. Don't fight," with his hands raised halfway in surrender.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Nick Moreno | Cara Forrester | Brooklyn West
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Cara was lucky that the apartment door opened after that last comment came out of her mouth. Brooklyn could feel her face growing hot, and she so badly wanted to abandon any humane instincts and just lunge at the girl for it. She didn't care about trying to seem controlled and unperturbed by the words that Cara was saying, because they did sting. Not because they were incredibly icy or well played, but because a part of Brooklyn felt like what she said was true. Cara wasn't some five dollar whore on the corner. She was a very pretty girl who came from money, and was set for life in a way that Brooklyn would never be. A girl like Cara didn't need to weigh Nick down with responsibilities because she didn't need him to get a real job to provide for her. She could provide for herself, and probably five more generations of herselfs if she really needed to. She had things that Brooklyn didn't have, and that alone had always made Brooklyn a little bit uneasy. Finding out that she had stolen the one thing that Brooklyn had, that she didn't have, just validated every self doubt that Brooklyn had had about herself. It made her feel insufficient and useless, and she hated it. The stronger and harder side of Brooklyn knew that it was wrong to use "stolen" for what Cara did, because Nick was not a victim in all of this. He couldn't be stolen unless he wanted to stray too, and as she had reminded herself before, it was Nick who owed her his loyalty, not Cara. If it hadn't been Cara who he cheated with, it would have been someone else, and Brooklyn was positive about that. It didn't make her hate Cara any less, and it took a lot of strength not to ignore the sound of someone coming in in favor of tearing the girl's hair out, but she managed. It wasn't like seeing Nick helped to suppress her rage, but it at least gave her a chance to redirect it towards him. "Of course it's your fault. Does that even need to be said? And we're not fighting. Not anymore, at least. I'm not wasting my time on either of you anymore."

"Good, because you're going to need as much time as you can to start packing. You can both show yourself out by the end of the day, and take your little buddy with you. Ryan and I don't need to be living with garbage."

"That's funny, because that's not what your brother said last night." She didn't care that Nick was standing right there. She didn't outright repeat that she had slept with him, but only because she was just refusing to acknowledge Nick in the moment. She wasn't going to hide that she had slept with Ryan, because she had done it as an act of vengance towards Nick too. He just wasn't relevant enough in the moment for her to want to rub it in. For now, she just needed to take care of Cara, because like Ryan had said, they weren't going to be forced out just because Cara was a bitch. Maybe Nick would be, but not her and Roman. She still despised Cara, but she did want to laugh at how easy she was making this. Establishing that she wanted both of them out meant that her night with Nick meant little to her. Nick had lost a loyal girlfriend and a house, all for a one night fling. For nothing. It shouldn't have made her happy, but it did, because at least now she knew it wasn't worth it. "I'll move into his room. Nick and Roman can find their own place." She wouldn't actually let Cara kick Roman out either, but she needed to establish that she was very willing to settle down in Cara's brother's room if that's the level of pettiness she wanted to play at.

Call it oblivious, but despite what Brooklyn was saying, Nick didn't even fathom that there was a possibility that Brooklyn had slept with Ryan. She wasn't being direct enough, and in his mind, Ryan was too young and innocent to be getting girls, nonetheless girls like Brooklyn. Maybe they had talked the night before, and maybe the kid was nice enough to think letting Brooklyn sleep in Roman's bed would fix their problems, but that was as far as Nick was thinking into it. Granted, he was in panic mode, so that probably accounted for the lack of thoroughness in his thoughts. "Come on, this isn't that deep, guys. Can we just work it out? No one has to move out over this. You can have that room, Brooke. I'll sleep on the couch. I'll sleep in the fucking bathroom. I know I'm the only one to blame here. You two don't need to go up against each other and get crazy because of this. If anything, I'll move out, but can you just consider letting it all go?"

"Those drugs are definitely catching up to you. You literally have zero brain cells." Cara felt like she was the least heated out of the three, and probably for good reason. This all mattered to her in only a superficial way of wanting to have it all. She wasn't the one losing a long time relationship, or being potentially kicked out. She was confident that she could fuck him again if she really wanted to, so she didn't mind Nick brushing off their night as being a mistake, and she knew that Ryan's word meant nothing over hers, so she only rolled her eyes at Brooklyn's claims about living with him. "The three of you have until nine tonight to get your stuff out, or you'll find it on the curb." She wasn't going to humor Nick's irrational suggestions that they all just forget about this. She had had her fun, and now that it came back to bite her, she was over it. She wasn't going to take responsibility for it because like most things in her life, she didn't have to. She flashed them both an obviously-forced smile, and returned to her bedroom without another word. She only then saw Chanel's text, and it didn't surprise her.

To: Chanel
Makayla must have told her bc I know you didn't. No one else knew. Oh well. I had to kick them out. Life goes on but Makayla's dead to me.

To: Ryan
you're absolutely dead for sleeping with her, ryan. good luck getting rid of all of the stds she gave you. and i'm telling dad you slept with a stripper btw

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Cara's statement, about them needing to move out, was one that should have been expected, but still made Nick's stomach knot up as she left the room. Since moving to New York, this apartment was the first real, stable and livable place he had to reside in. The basement he had stayed in before had been stable and long term, but it wasn't actual conditions that most people would deem livable. This apartment was nice enough, and had enough amenities for a simple person like him to be happy, and apparently, enough for Brooke to be happy as well, since she had seen it as an upgrade from their last home as well. And yeah, while he couldn't imagine himself residing in the same space as Brooklyn and Cara anymore, nonetheless sharing a room with Brooklyn when she wanted to murder him, he also couldn't imagine moving out. Not over something that he still insisted was just a stupid, stupid mistake. "Don't worry, I'll fix this. I'll talk to her. She'll change her mind," Nick said, as if the thought of him having some sort of influential power over Cara would be seen in a good way by Brooklyn. There was a small part of him that believed that maybe he could change Cara's mind, though. He knew he would just get himself into more trouble by telling her that he had feelings for her, or something of that sort, where there was a possibility that she would feel the same way and then feel inclined to succumb to his pleas to allow them to stay, but maybe it was the only option. Maybe instead of trying to blame other people for this, he could attempt to take responsibility for this, or at least make things right, even if it was in a risky way, that would likely end up backfiring on him anyway. All that he knew was that he didn't want Roman and Brooklyn to be kicked out because of his stupid mistake, and he wasn't eager to start couch surfing until he could find an affordable place of his own either.

"I'm not worrying about anything. I don't know if you're really dumb enough to think that I'm still relying on you for anything, but I've got my own living situation handled. You should start moving your stuff out, though." She feigned a smile, though it was clearly an ill-intended one, as she met his gaze.

"Ryan's not gonna be able to magically change her mind, Brooke."

She didn't like how Nick said that. He really didn't have a condescending tone when the words came out, but he set himself up for her response. If he thought his connection with Cara was somehow incredibly magical and strong, after sleeping together once, than her connection with Ryan would be just as useful here. "If I sleep with him again, I'm sure he'll manage to, but that's none of your business now. You should get the address to the closest Salvation Army before you leave. Maybe they'll take you in."

"You're joking, right?" Her silence was the only answer he needed. "Are you fucking serious, Brooke? Tell me you're bullshitting." Was she out of her mind? Ryan? Ryan-fucking-Forrester? Rage was definitely the new emotion of the day, because his fists clenched hard enough to make his knuckles turn white. The reasoning made no sense outside of his own head, but somehow, it was more insulting that Brooklyn would turn to some scrawny kid, who Nick never would have suspected would have the balls to engage in something like that, like Ryan, over anyone else.

"I only did it after I found out about you and her. I figured that there had to be something alluring about the Forresters to get you in bed with her, and I actually wasn't disappointed. At least I know someone like Ryan won't cheat on me." After saying that, she was bothered with herself for even trying to justify what she did, because she owed him no explanation. She didn't owe him an explanation, loyalty... nothing. Not only did she sleep with Ryan after Nick had slept with Cara, but it was also after Brooklyn had revealed that she knew about them, which was essentially breaking up with him. Both parties knew that the relationship was over, so she was still sure that she was completely in the right by doing what she did.

"I'm gonna kill him."

"Why? Because I'm 'only yours' when you want me? When you're not too busy fucking someone else and trying to hide it?" She shook her head, a signal to herself and him that this conversation was pointless, and there was no use in letting herself grow heated any longer. "Look, Nick. You can save this hero act for someone else, okay? You betrayed me, and I'm over it. I'm over you. Don't look at him, don't talk to him, and don't touch him, or I'll be the first one to call the police." There was nothing else that Nick could say that would be worth her time, so with that, she pushed off of the counter she was leaning against and headed out of the kitchen, and down the hall to her bedroom. Roman and Ryan's door was closed across the hall, and though she considered knocking on it, she didn't. She needed to talk to Ryan, but the last thing that she needed was Nick thinking he could be some macho man and break down the door or something, if he thought she was in there for certain reasons. Instead, after entering her bedroom, she texted Ryan, saying, "hey, i need to talk to you."

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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: Marie Casanova Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Kacey Rogers Character Portrait: Colton King Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Collin King Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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(Not sure why my post ended up here and not in another thread's OOC....)

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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: Kacey Rogers Character Portrait: Colton King
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He didn't want to leave the apartment permanently like Cara wanted them to do, but he wanted to leave temporarily now. He needed to smoke, and badly, and at this point, he was willing to just light up in the hallway of the building if that was what it was going to take to calm his nerves. He doubted that there was any shot at him being able to do it in their apartment now. Not only would it probably be a perfect excuse for Cara to call the police and personally escort him out of the apartment in handcuffs, but he didn't even think he was going to be able to stay in his bedroom, since Brooklyn was in there now, and he knew he'd be stupid to try and hang out in there too. Plus, now he knew that Roman wasn't home, which meant he couldn't even hotbox he and Ryan's bedroom. Normally, it wasn't something that he would ever consider doing since he really did try to respect Ryan's space, as a thank you for him being tolerant of them moving into his space, but right now, Nick wanted to kill him. To an extent, literally. Nick really did do his best to keep himself from being some crazy, overprotective boyfriend. Brooklyn was a gorgeous girl and was complimented all of the time, and she deserved it. Nick was used to people lusting over his girl, and he had been forced to come to terms with that because of her occupation, but there was a difference between guys fantasizing about sleeping with her, and actually doing it. He had definitely taken what he had for granted, and he knew that he had no right to be angered over her and Ryan, considering what he had done first, but it didn't stop him from wanting to kill the boy.

Chanel wanted weed, and he knew that it was rude of him to be keeping her this long, but obviously, he wasn't just blowing her off for no reason. Despite knowing he had a valid reason to tell her that he was unable to get it to her, Nick wanted to make the deal. He didn't need her finding a new dealer, even if she wasn't a very frequent customer. Besides, he supposed that maybe she'd be cool with him lighting up with her, or maybe he would even run into Makayla while over there, and be able to coerce her into letting him smoke in her bedroom, for some free weed. He knew it wasn't a smart move for him business wise, to be so ready to hand out the drug for free, but at this point, all he cared about was getting high. A minute after Brooklyn left him in the kitchen with parting words that were too true for him to argue with, even if she had given him the chance, he texted Chanel, saying, "Two minutes, sorry for the holdup". After it was sent, he took a minute to recuperate, and toss the whiskey bottle that still had some contents into the trash, before heading down the hall and towards his bedroom. He was grateful that Brooklyn had not locked herself in, because judging by the glare she gave him when he opened the door, he doubted she would have opened it had he had to knock. "Don't worry, I'm not trying to stick around. I just need to grab a few things and then I'll be out of your way," he said, his hands raised in surrender. She didn't reply, her eyes only returning to her computer screen midway through his explanation as if she didn't care what he had to say. That was fine with him for now. He didn't need any more fighting, and he wasn't dumb enough to think that they were suddenly going to be able to work things out.

Like he promised Brooklyn, he was in and out of the bedroom in only the short span of time that it took for him to weigh Chanel's weed, and bag another portion that consisted of about two thick joints' worth of weed and grab his bowl and lighter. The extra weed was for himself, and potentially Makayla, if she let him smoke there. While he was close enough with Chanel to deal with her, he didn't want to invite himself to smoke with her, especially if he was charging her. And with the prospect of having to move out that night still existing as a reality, he didn't think there was any way that he could not charge her. As he headed back out of his bedroom, he sent Chanel a text saying that he was there, which wasn't much of a lie since his apartment was only seconds worth of a walk away from hers. He didn't have to wait long before she opened the door, with a smile that he had no reason to assume was anything but genuine.

To say that Cara's words didn't sting, even just a tiny bit, would be an ill-attempted lie. Chanel continued to stare at the door with a disgusted snarl on her face before scoffing to herself, a minute peeved grin coming into place. This bitch, she thought to herself. What was more frustrating was that it wasn't anything surprising. She knew the way Cara worked, or at least liked to think so. And Cara had only proven that whatever friendship they were pretending to have wasn't a real one. They had both been using each other for different gains, and it bothered Chanel that it now seemed to be blowing up in her face. It would have been very easy to deal Cara's cards back to her. To show her a different side of Chanel, but to do that would essentially be forfeiting the fight. Something, she reminded herself as she flopped on her bed, she wouldn't partake in. As much as she wanted to, she wasn't going to get into a cat fight with Cara. But she would still shame her name while she screamed into her pillowcase. When she felt her phone vibrate minutes later, she saw it was from Nick--two actually. She'd missed his previous text saying he'd be there shortly, and so as she read his most recent one announcing his arrival, she quickly got up. Thank fucking god. When she opened the door, she tried greeting him with a warm smile, but she was tired, annoyed, and just wanted to time out for the rest of the day. "Hey," she said. "Thought you went to Vegas or something."

"Yeah, sorry about that," he responded to her remark about him taking so long. He felt like saying that "her girl" kicked him out, so he had a lot on his plate at the moment, but despite his conversation with her earlier, Nick really wasn't the type of person to try and spread his business around like that. Plus, he wasn't trying to start any more drama up, and that went without him even knowing about Chanel and Cara's fight minutes before. "So this is yours," he said, handing her the bag of weed. He was too drained to even try to be discrete about it, but being halfway through her door made it less necessary than if they were in public anyway. "Just twenty for that, and I swear it's some good shit too," he said. Twenty for a gram was pretty standard in New York for regulars. Tourists could easily be ripped off in midtown, where it was easier to charge steep prices, but Nick did his best to remain consistent in his pricing for people he actually knew. "Is Makayla home?," he followed up with, not deep enough in the apartment to see or hear for himself. "I wanted to see if she wanted to light up."

"Thanks, dude," she said as she took the bag. She had no reason to distrust Nick when it came to weed. He'd been supplying her for some months now, so she knew that she didn't have anything to worry about. When he brought up wanting to smoke with Makayla, she nearly invited herself, just out of habit, before reeling herself in. She had to remind herself that she didn't really want a social gathering right now, and if anything just wanted to talk mad shit about Cara until she the good Lord himself struck her down. Plus, if he said yes and then Makayla wasn't able to join, it'd be awkward, just the two of them. Chanel normally didn't register what would be to most an uncomfortable situation, but today she was more aware of her own moments of social lacking and wanted to avoid that possible scenario. It might have been less weird had there not been the tie up with Cara, but she wasn't going to test that. "Uh, yeah. She's in here. Full house actually. I don't know if her and Holly are about to be busy though. You can come in if you want, and I'll go grab the money. We have food too, and some Tupperware containers if you want to take something to go," she said, and before considering the weight of her words, continue with, "Cara told me about her little tantrum. Couldn't talk her out of giving you guys the boot, but take however much food you want. I guess that's the least I can do." After the words escaped her mouth, she rolled her eyes deeply, demonstrating she knew just how much she'd messed up. She really needed to learn how to stop talking. "Sorry, that was super inappro-pro. I'm gonna go get the money and you can just forget I said anything."

Somehow, Nick managed to conjure up a close-to-genuine smirk at Chanel's comment and then her quick apology. He didn't know her incredibly well, but she was definitely likeable, even coming off a moment where Nick had surely suspected she had been at the root of Brooklyn finding out about all of this. "Don't sweat it... and thanks," he said with a reassuring smile as he stepped into her apartment. He was hungry, but he didn't want to help himself to her food, even if the offer had been extended. He wasn't that desperate, and more-so, he didn't want to do that now, if there was a chance that he was going to get high and then want that food in twenty minutes. Throwing discretion to the wind, because again, he wasn't in a state to give a shit about much of anything, he approached the kitchen and when he caught Makayla's eye, held up the bag of weed he had brought for them. Kacey, Colton and Holly were all right there, but he didn't try to hide the drug, and went so far as to say, "I know you said you were trying to stay away earlier, but I'm hoping you've changed your mind? It's on me if you'll host," with a bit of a pleading smile.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Kacey Rogers Character Portrait: Colton King
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Had Makayla not skillfully and quickly directed the conversation to another topic, Holly would have lingered on why she thought Cara could still take her to the movies. Cara never acted offended or bothered by Holly asking if they could partake in certain activities, such as going to the movies or stopping in a store that had something in the window that caught Holly's eye. Growing up in a household where money was scarce, and then being taken in by Makayla, Holly knew what the value of a dollar was to an extent, and that she couldn't get everything she wanted, but that principal didn't seem - or need - to exist when she was with Cara. The blonde didn't splurge tremendously on Holly, but she never objected to simple requests that Holly made, for things that would be luxuries if Makayla was the one paying for it.

"I did tell you about what me and Cara did! Maybe you weren't listening," Holly objected, a slight frown falling in place before quickly disappearing when she began to talk again. "But I can tell you again!" she exclaimed, because it was nearly impossible for her to turn down an opportunity to tell a story, especially when it had actually been requested. "At night time, after you came back home, I wanted to come home too but Cara said that I couldn't, so I stayed at her house and watched TV, and then I fell asleep, and then in the morning I woke up and I woke Cara up too because I didn't know what to do, because at our house I always wake you up in the morning too when I wake up, right? And I was going to wake up Brooklyn and Nick and Roman and Ryan too, because they all live at Cara's house too, but I decided to only wake her up, and then she let me watch TV again and she went back to sleep because she needs so much sleep, and then after that, a little bit later, she woke up again, and we went and we got breakfast at a restaurant. I got pancakes with sugar on them, because that's something you can get at the restaurant we went to, and then we went to the store and bought all of the stuff I showed you, remember? My chips and all of my stuff. Then we came back here and Chanel was here but then she left to go to the spa with Cara, and then you got to be with me again." The recollection took less than a minute to tell, but Holly had become engulfed in it enough that she had missed Cara leaving the apartment in a hurry. She was going to continue, and remind Makayla of everything that the two of them had done this morning together, just in case her memory had been erased for that part of the day too, but she opted against it in favor of agreeing with Colton, who had come over midway through her response to her sister. "Yeah, people with tattoos can't be boring. You're not boring and Kay's not boring and Roman, the boy with the tattoos, is not boring either. He got me lemonade yesterday because he's really nice and not boring." Kacey addressed her after she finished with that comment, or at least, Holly thought that she was addressing her, despite her eyes being on Makayla. She was the only one with a plate left on the table, and though there was still a piece or two of turkey left, she wasn't going to eat it. She picked the pieces off, placed them on the bare table in front of Makayla, and jumped out of her chair to hand the plate to Kacey, who stood over the dishwasher. "Do you love doing the dishes so much?" Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of Chanel heading towards the front door of the apartment, but her mind was still moving too fast for her to switch tasks and address that immediately. Instead, she followed up her first question with another. "Wanna make your cinnamon rolls now? I'll help you while Makayla does our laundry," she offered, in a way that was more like insisting than actually neutrally offering.

When Nick appeared in the kitchen, Holly's first thought wasn't to comment on the bag of drugs in his hand, but on the fact that she had forgotten to include him in her list of people who had tattoos. She spun around to look at Colton, and pointed towards Nick eagerly. "And I totally forgot, but Nick has tattoos too and he's not boring, even though he's quiet sometimes and doesn't like it when you make Brooklyn angry." With that off of her mind, she was able to process why Nick was standing there, and her frown quickly returned. "Makayla doesn't do drugs," she answered for her sister in a defensive manner. Holly was ignorant to a lot of things, but she had grown up around drugs for far too long to not know what they were, and be able to identify the major ones. She knew that Makayla drank, but whenever she identified the smell of weed on Makayla, her sister claimed that it was just air freshener that she was smelling, and by now, Holly just related the smell to being air freshener. However, even if she had been tricked into not being able to identify it by smell, she could tell what it was that Nick was holding in a visual respect, and she knew it was something that was bad.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Kacey Rogers Character Portrait: Colton King
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By now, Makayla was more than used to Holly's version of storytelling. It usually began in the right direction, as if she were going to actually answer what Makayla had asked, and then would quickly spiral into a completely different conversation since her sister had a tendency to focus on minute details that would seem irrelevant to anyone else. She would get fixated on things, and though sometimes they were harmless things, like seeing a dog that looked similar to one she had seen the day before and talking about it for the next five days, they were sometimes more detrimental... or at least detrimental to Makayla's mental health. Sometimes even those things would seem trivial to other people, like Holly constantly bringing up the fact that she was one of the few kids her age that didn't have a phone, or that she wished that they lived somewhere with a pool. To an extent, they were still harmless comments, but they got under Makayla's skin after hearing about it day in and day out. She knew Holly didn't mean it this way, but after a while, she was able to convince herself into feeling like the girl was ungrateful. Did she not realize that Makayla had dropped out of college for her? That, in itself, was a huge deal, since Makayla grew up in an area where a lot of kids didn't finish high school... nonetheless "beat the odds" and go on to college, and actually want to be there. Was Holly uncaring towards Makayla working herself in a mental state of despair to try to keep both of them afloat, when it seemed like the world was working against them? Did she not realize that not only did Makayla have to sacrifice much of her own childhood to grow up and play mom and dad to Holly, but now she was having to sacrifice her young adult like too? The years that were supposed to be "the best of her life"?

Always, after all of these questions played through her mind, Makayla had to remind herself that no, Holly didn't realize that. It was as simple as that. The girl was oblivious and ignorant and all of that was okay and excusable, because she didn't mean to be that way. She didn't want to be that way. It wasn't the child's fault that she had been brought up in a hellish environment, where the learning and emotional disabilities she was born with were worsened to an extreme due to the treatment she received there. That wasn't her fault, and though Makayla knew that it wasn't her fault either, she also knew that she would never be able to go through with the thoughts that sometimes filled her mind, about just finally breaking free from this life, leaving Holly with protective services, and "doing herself". She would never let herself live it down, and if she thought she had a problem with alcohol and marijuana now, she knew it would only take days after going through with that plan for her to overdose. Whether she just had too big of a conscience, loved Holly too much, or couldn't let someone else go through life knowing that they were abandoned the way that her mother had done to her, she knew that this was her life, and Holly's quirks were all things she had to take in stride.

Coming to terms that this was her "usual" didn't mean that she was comfortable with it though. Anyone in her position would attest to how taxing it was, and how easy it was to get exhausted when every five minutes she had to redirect Holly back to whatever they were doing. Sometimes, the easiest thing to do was to ask her to talk, like she had done now, with the recollection of what she had done with Cara. At least she knew that for those thirty seconds, she wasn't infringing upon anyone else's personal space, she wasn't getting into things that didn't belong to them, and she wasn't running out of sight. Today, after those thirty seconds were up, Makayla struggled to muster up more strength to redirect Holly's focus back to her when she shot over to Kacey to give her the plate, and then started talking to Colton. The last thing that she wanted to deal with was Nick coming in and putting her in that situation. Not only did it bother her in the obvious way, since Holly knowing that she smoked a lot was something that she did her best to conceal (and Nick knew that), but that he was saying it right in front of her new roommate, and Colton, as well. She knew that there were a lot of people nowadays who weren't against the drug, but it just went back to the same reason she had for a lot of things, that she didn't want to be "that" roommate. For one, she didn't really want people to know any more about her than necessary, and two, she didn't need any more reasons for people to dislike her, when she had a preconceived notion that Holly would find a way to get them on people's bad sides before long.

She stood up quickly upon Holly's defensive comment and wrapped an arm around her shoulder to usher her back towards their bedroom, knowing that now, they definitely needed to go. "I said I'm good today," she said, glancing at Nick, clearly annoyed, because at this point, she really didn't have the strength to hide it. What point of "no" didn't he understand? "Not today, no thanks," she followed up with a beat later, an attempt at partly trying to seem more polite, and also trying to solidify that she wasn't in the mood to be persuaded into saying yes. He had just given her one more reason for her head to ache, on top of the thousand she already had, and though smoking sounded great at the moment, she couldn't do it for more than one reason. "Come on, Holly," she said, nudging her towards the hallway. "We're going to go do that laundry." She looked back, only for a second, to offer Kacey a smile. "Thanks again for the food." Although she didn't want to touch on the subject of the drugs any more than was necessary, she knew Holly, and she knew that if she didn't bring it up, Holly would. "I don't know why he said that, Holl. You know how I always say boys are dumb, right? He was probably just being dumb and trying to make a joke." She didn't want to give Holly a chance to linger on it, so she kept talking, hoping to direct her attention elsewhere as they entered their bedroom. "Grab the bag over by the window with our clothes in it. It's not too heavy, do you want to hold it while we walk? I have to make sure we have enough change." While some of the laundromats in the city were upgraded to a point where you could use a prepaid card or in some, even a credit card, to pay for laundry, the one that was closest to them still only offered the traditional quarter option. It was a nuisance only because she always seemed to have no change on her on her laundry days, but she preferred that struggle over going to a more expensive one that had more modern machines.

She grabbed her purse, and also Holly's backpack, since she knew that she needed to have something on hand to occupy her for the hour that they would be waiting for the laundry, and without wasting much time, led her back out of the bedroom. "Come on, we don't want to get there too late and have all of the machines be taken," she said as they neared the main area of the apartment, hoping that comment would be enough to herd her out without any unnecessary conversation with those still in the kitchen. As they left, she tossed Holly's backpack over her shoulder and rummaged through her bag for the change she needed. As she was doing so, she got a text, and thinking it was from Cara, she opened it right away, only to find that it wasn't from that blonde, but another. Brooklyn. It read, "Hey, random text, ik but just wanted you to know that Nick and I are done. Spoke w Cara too. I didn't mention your name so you shouldn't have any problems but just wanted you to know what's up." She was still typing as Makayla finished reading that one, and a second later, another message popped up. "And since it's gonna bother me if I feel like I'm in debt too you, I can get you a job where I work if you still need something. I can bring you tonight around 8 to meet my boss if you want." Makayla didn't let herself process how random the text was since she and Brooklyn were not friends, or what implications Nick and Cara knowing might mean for her, especially with Cara still not having answered her. All she could focus on was the second text, and how badly she actually did need money right now, and her answer was a very quick, "yeah, that'd be great. thanks!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Kacey Rogers Character Portrait: Colton King
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"See, Kace, I'm not boring. This girl seems like she knows what's boring and what's not, so her word stands," Colton insisted, moving over to the counter beside the dishwasher and leaning against it as he spoke to Kacey. He liked egging Holly on on this matter, only because he could feel the tension eradiating from Kacey. That was one of her flaws, or so he liked to tell her so - she was too easy to read, and therefore, too easy to have her buttons pushed.

"I don't think anyone 'loves doing dishes," Kacey responded, a bit of a curious expression left on her face - or forced onto her face - since it seemed better to look perplexed as to why anyone would ask that, than annoyed at the question. She took Holly's plate nonetheless, and placed it into the dishwasher along with the rest of the dirty plates and utensils from the sink. As she closed it up and turned it on, Chanel and Nick entered the main area of the apartment. Kacey hadn't seen Nick the night before, since he was already out by the time she had gotten to Cara's, so she wasn't sure who he was, and figured he was a friend of Chanel's. Maybe a boyfriend, and if that was the case, Kacey could not blame her. Her preference definitely was heavily favoring females nowadays, and when it came to men, she liked them dark, but that didn't mean that she couldn't acknowledge that Nick was a good looking guy. A little thin for her tastes, but standing beside Chanel, she noted that they were a cute couple. Something about his appearance made it unsurprising that he proposed smoking to Makayla, who seemed bothered by the inquiry and shut it down quickly, although she didn't actually shut the idea of her being a smoker down entirely. Which was interesting. For no reason, really, but it was just one more thing that Kacey learned about the girl today. Being pro-weed wasn't a bad thing in her book. She would smoke occasionally, in a recreational manner, so she didn't frown upon it, but she just hadn't pinned Makayla as being a marijuana enthusiast. However, it wasn't like she could blame her. Kacey hadn't known Holly for a day, and was craving a nice, serene, high.

"Damn, this is the apartment with the good food and the 4/20-friendly motto? I should have taken you up on the offer to switch rooms when it was still on the table," Colton said to Kacey, though loudly enough for it to be directed at the group as a whole. He too, noticed Chanel letting Nick in, and instantly, he wanted to associate that with why she had ditched him, and hadn't seemed as into him as he was hoping. Nick was probably her boyfriend. It made sense that a girl like her wasn't going to be single anyway, now that he thought about it. "I don't think we met. I'm Colton," he said, trying out this friendly personality and being "extra", as Kacey would put it. He gave the guy a greeting sort-of nod, wanting to ask what he was to Chanel, but knowing that would be inappropriate and weird, given the circumstances. Instead, he turned back to Kacey. "Wanna wrap me up a piece of that so I don't starve come dinner time, or should I just come back here and keep you company? What do you say, six o'clock sound good?" She had her back to Colton now as she began to transfer the lasagna into a container to be refrigerated, but rolled her eyes at him nonetheless. "Nah, I'm finally getting rid of you, and your leeching ways. You've gotta learn how to cook something besides those nasty microwavable mac and cheese cups anyway. Now's a good time for you to start," she said, sealing the lid on the container as a sign that she really wasn't going to give him any. It was petty, maybe, considering that she did have more than enough to share, but she had already shared with him, and she didn't just slave away over the stove for that long, just to give it all away. She wanted this to last her for a few days, at least, and she had a feeling (or maybe a hope) that she would be sharing with Makayla and Holly again soon anyway.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Nick had paused in his day drinking only for a few hours, part of that being while he smoked with Chanel, and then the rest being as he moved his things from his room in Cara's apartment, into the living room of Chanel's apartment. Some of Makayla and Holly's things had still been in his new room, or else he would have moved them in right away, but he was too impatient to stick around and wait for that. Even after a pretty decent smoking session with Chanel, he was feeling anxious. The depression and regret were present too, but what was more agitating were those feelings of restlessness, where he didn't know what he wanted to do to make himself feel better. He didn't know if he wanted to spend the entire day smoking, or maybe go for a run, or even be productive and make some sales on the other side of the city. He would get himself ready for one of the activities, even on just a mental level, but couldn't actually go through with it, and so, that led him to leaving the apartment building and walking. At first, it had been aimless. He didn't bring weed along, so he knew he wasn't en route to make any money, but he didn't have any specific destination in mind. It was only after passing five or six bars that he decided to turn into one, and unfortunately for his liver, it took a good few hours for him to exit it.

By the time he left, if you had asked him a question about Brooklyn, he would have responded with, "Brooklyn who?". Maybe that didn't seem exceptionally out of character for Nick, who wasn't emotional in most sense of the word, but hours before, she had been the one who had instilled that restless feeling in him. It wasn't so much the process of moving out that got to him, but that he wasn't going to be living with her anymore. It was all his fault, and again, he knew that very well, but he knew it was going to hit him soon, that he had really, really fucked up. If he thought his mindset was screwed up now, he knew it was only going to get worse as time went on. He would have to adjust to sleeping alone, and not being woken up at five in the morning on the nights that she worked, to the smell of her perfume mixed with alcohol, and her lips pressing against his neck. He would have to relearn what it was like to not have "your other half", someone who you could tell anything too. There would be no more lowkey date nights, and in turn, no more complaints about how he needed to get his act together because she wasn't going to live off of cheap pizza forever. She was gone, and she deserved to be free of him, but man, did it suck. Or at least it would suck, when Nick was sober again. For now, all he could do was smile in a nearly goofy manner as he headed out of the bar and began his walk home. The blonde that had made his days better for so long wasn't occupying an inch of his mind, and all that he could focus on was the way his head felt lighter now, and how he could really go for some pizza. After buying pitcher after pitcher of beer at the bar, he knew his wallet wouldn't thank him for indulging in a pizza too, but when he passed a pizzeria, he indulged and ordered a pie. It took five minutes for it to come out, and though he wanted to start eating it there, he didn't, only since there weren't any free tables. Thankfully, he was only a few minutes away from his building, and his stomach was willing to wait that long. Before he left the pizzeria, he texted Roman, saying "Bro i just got the sickest pizza wya".

Drunk and so used to his routine, Nick headed straight for the door of Cara's apartment when he reached the fifth floor. With only one hand free, he rummaged through his pockets for a minute before deciding that he must have left his key somewhere. In the moment, he didn't recall that he had turned the key in to Cara hours before, and though this would probably all click in his mind in a few minutes, he knocked on the door a few times, hoping one of "his" roommates would be home to let him in.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Kacey Rogers
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Roman wasn't sure if he was tired or fatigued. After a while, the two bled together and were essentially indistinguishable most of the time. He couldn't recall the last time he was really well rested, and at this point had just gotten used to the feeling. He also could have just been feeling lazy, not wanting to set up his room again. Granted, he didn't have too many things and he was being more dramatic than he needed to be, but he had something to whine over, and so that's what he was going to do. In all actuality, he didn't mind the task too much. It was just all the moving that accompanied it. The cold made his bones ache more, made him sleepier, and so any physical effort was a chore on its own. He did, however, want to be done with this, and he couldn't bring himself to sleep if his side of the room wasn't as it should be. It was an odd, unexpected obsession, to need his room to be kept a certain way, especially when the rest of his life was essentially in shambles compared to what it could have been. During this, he received the text from Brooke and, again, grinned unwillingly. He'd been in need of money for time but hadn't actively sought out a solution. Whatever he needed to make up for he did in matches.

To: Brooke

you dont die from a broken skull but yea i'm interested. thanks for being useful for once

Not too long after, he received another text. He figured it was from Brooke, responding with some reciprocated kind of banter, so he didn't look right away, especially since he was busy trying to figure out what was missing. He hadn't yet made his bed because everything wasn't put away, but he just had a feeling that something wasn't there. Frustrated that this was taking longer than it should have, he sat on his bed and checked his phone, only to frown seconds afterwards. Free pizza was a god send any day, especially when a food break would likely ease the annoyance he felt, but he had food, plus he still didn't really want to see Nick. He was convinced that it would just be awkward from then on out, and he wasn't looking forward to that, so without response, he stood and entered the kitchen where he found Chanel standing in the dark.

Chanel winced and squeezed her eyes when a whiteness washed over the room. Once her eyes adjusted, she saw Roman standing near the light switch, giving her a look that clearly translated to, "What the hell are you doing just standing in the dark?" But then again, his face always looked like that. She forced an honest smile to her lips, and she wasn't sure if she imagined the small recoil of his body. What is this dude's deal? "Hey, she said as he moved across the kitchen. He didn't necessarily ignore her, but instead gave her the slightest brow raise in greeting. She blinked, but moved past this. "Sorry I've mostly been in my room all day. It's just one of those days, y'know."

"Yeah," he said, and for her, this was an accomplishment in an abysmally sub par conversation this was turning out to be. She pursed her lips in thought as she watched him look through the fridge. A few seconds later, he was frowning into it, clearly confused. "You can help yourself to anything in there. It's a lot of leftover right now. Way too much for just me. Well, probably not, but I don't want to be--"

"It's fine," he interjected, causing Chanel to catch her words in her throat. For a person who liked talking and thrived on people treating her like the light in the room, she found it incredibly rude to be cut off, especially when it wasn't even for something interest. Especially when she was just being a nice fucking person. Roman glanced back at her, only partially, as if it was too much work to just turn around and look at her. "I thought I brought my stuff over. Guess it's still at Cara's." He tossed the door close. So this is why Cara doesn't like you... "Cool tattoos," she blurted in a desperate effort to make this conversation not be the second worst thing about her day. She took things like this personally, of all things, which only went to show how out of line her priorities really were. Roman glanced around the room, and she caught him eye Makayla and Holly's bedroom. Old bedroom, she reminded herself. "Are you shy? I don't want to make you uncomfortable. I feel like I'm making you uncomfortable."

"No," Roman said bluntly, seemingly offended by her question. "You just talk a lot."

Sorry I don't have the social skills of a crab, asshole

Roman had narrowly escaped back into his new room, but when he did, he collapsed on the bed, convinced that he wouldn't leave again. He'd just take a quick shower and stay in for the rest of the night. If he was lucky, he might even go to sleep at a decent hour. This was one of the reasons he wasn't thrilled about the current living situation. Anyone who could tolerate Cara clearly had some things to work out, and he wanted nothing to do with them. Of course, if he was being fair, from the times he had interacted with her, she didn't seem as malicious as Cara. In fact, sometimes he even questioned how they could be friends when Chanel seemed genuinely nice, but that was her problem. It was just that she was overwhelmingly there. Not too long after searching for his bathroom items, he realized what it was he was missing. Bloody Christ, he thought. His hunger was making him crankier, and even more so because he wasn't sure why he denied the food Chanel offered. Well, he told himself, it was probably because she was being so persistent. He wasn't excited about having to go back over to Cara's, but she was somehow more tolerable than Chanel at the moment. This time when he headed out, he saw a girl with Chanel. She looked vaguely familiar, and then he placed as being the new roommate Chanel had introduced. Without word, he slipped through the door and headed to 5C.

In a new found mood to beat someone's ass, Chanel poured herself some wine and made a plate of leftovers even though she wasn't quite hungry. She just wanted to eat simply because she could. It was a new habit she'd picked up since coming to move on her own. For her parents, the worst thing besides talking back was being wasteful. They were snacks in the house of course, but her and her brothers almost always had to do it discreetly. It wasn't so much that they weren't allowed to eat them, but her parents, for whatever reason, just thought that it was fruitless binging. And in this instance, it was. A smile came to her face and her stomach clenched, but not from hunger. When Kacey entered the room, Chanel grinned and waved. "Hi," she said. Looking at Kacey, she was just realizing how pretty she was. "Oh, uh, Roman and Nick are our roommates," she said just as Roman came out of his room. "Speak of the devil. Yeah, they switched with Holly and Makayla because..." she began, now sure how much information was too much information. "Cara's offering them free rent," she finally settled with, but when Roman had finally gone just seconds after entering the kitchen, she turned back to Kacey. "There was some altercation so they didn't have a place to stay, and after Makayla told me Cara was letting them stay for free, I told Nick they could crash here. I hope that's okay. I didn't think to consult you. I'm sorry. Oh," she said a moment later as she noticed Kacey was getting ready to prepare something. "What are you making? And you're really pretty by the way."

Roman had heard the last bit of Chanel's words. Not the part where she admitted to Kacey what was going on, but the part about Cara offering Makayla and Holly free rent. So now, apart from getting the rest of his things, he was also going to demand that she give him his portion of this month's rent since she clearly didn't need, and likely didn't need any of it to begin with. He was growing more heated thinking about it. So what the hell was she doing with our money if she didn't even need it? Before he could get too caught up in the notion, he was distracted by the sight an intoxicated Nick standing out of Cara's apartment with a pizza in hands. It was too late to turn around, and even if it wasn't, he wouldn't have because he needed to see Cara. Nick, on the other hand, didn't have any reason to be out here. From the way he looked, which wasn't entirely there or cognizant, Roman could infer that he'd just stupidly gone to the wrong apartment. Or, if he wanted to give Nick more credit than he was worth, was there for other reasons. Maybe he decided to bring it to share with Cara since Roman hadn't answered, but if that was the case, then Nick really was dumb because Roman would be damned if Cara had ever eaten anything that wasn't personally served to her or from some elitist restaurant. He knew he was being unnecessarily harsh, and it alarmed him just how quickly and easily it had snuck up on him, which was the exact reason why he was trying to avoid Nick. It was too late for that now, though, so he walked over, not hiding the judgment from his face as he banged on the door, purposely unnecessarily hard. "The hell are you doing here? Are you drunk?"

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Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Cara didn't even know why she had started to darken Holly's image of Chanel. As it always was, Holly wasn't someone that Cara wanted to corrupt. She didn't think of herself, and she wouldn't even fully acknowledge that everything she was saying was 100% pure pettiness, but she still knew that it wasn't right of her to have even brought this up. Not only in a moral aspect, but also in the sense that it was probably going to come back to bite her. She should have known that Holly wouldn't let it go that easily, especially when up until this very moment, Chanel was probably one of her favorite people. As far as Cara knew, outside of Makayla, she didn't have many, if any, close family members, and again, from what she knew, she didn't have many friends at school either. Therefore, aside from Makayla, it was the people she interacted with in the building who she probably thought of as friends. While Cara would pride herself in being the "best" friend (and yeah, even she realized how stupid that thought, of vying for a sixteen-year-old's best friend position was), she knew that Chanel was probably a close second. She was the person who actually lived with Holly, after all, and with the way that Chanel was so friendly (albeit, a fake form of friendliness), it made sense that Holly would like Chanel. Even if she didn't, Cara had to have known that what made things worse here was that she wasn't trying to convince Holly not to like Chanel alone, but that Chanel actually didn't like her. That was where she went wrong, she knew. "I think she does like you guys. Don't worry about it, Holly. Like, it's not even a big deal."

It was a big deal to Holly, though. Cara couldn't just claim that Chanel didn't like them and then say that she did. That didn't make sense. Everyone knew that Holly struggled with focusing on most things, but she wasn't always aggravatingly flighty. It still probably was equally aggravating, considering what she liked to focus on, but if the stars aligned, she wasn't as horrible at following a concept and using reasoning skills as she was pinned as being. Granted, it being night time, and her energy level to be rambunctious was lower, so that definitely played a role in her capability to be more serious now too. "Remember yesterday when Makayla said that you thought I was stupid?"

"I don't think you're stupid. You're the only person that I know who knows almost all of the words to all of the High School Musical movies." And she didn't think that Holly was stupid. She was ignorant and naive, and Cara attempting to sway the conversation in a lighter direction probably attested to how she didn't think that Holly was incredibly competent, but she didn't think that she was stupid. Not in a bad way, like that.

"Yeah, I do," Holly perked up momentarily, but was surprisingly able to maintain her focus as she redirected herself back to what she was trying to get at. "But do you think that Chanel thinks that I'm stupid and that's why she doesn't want us to stay in the room next to her?"

"No one thinks you're stupid. You're not stupid."

"I'm not smart," she countered, and she wasn't saying it in a manner of self-pitying. As a child, "stupid" was one of the most common insults that her mother and mother's boyfriend flung at her. She was stupid for doing poorly in school, but she was also stupid for thinking that Santa was real when she was five, and for walking in front of the television during a boxing match. She was an assortment of other, less PG-rated names as well, but stupid was one that always stuck with her. In elementary school, she was called it a lot by her peers as well, and it was an insult that resonated with her, especially as she grew up and realized that getting poor grades was what stupid was. She got bad grades and she was in the classes for kids who required extra help and attention so reasonably speaking, that meant that she was stupid. "That's why Brooklyn doesn't like me, and that's why Chanel wanted me and Makayla to leave." Cara had disagreed with her being stupid, but Holly knew that she was, so she concluded that that must have been the reason for Chanel wanting them out.

"You are smart, Holly. Look, Chanel does like you. She thinks you're nice and smart and all of that." Ugh, of course this is what I get for trying to reasonably get someone on my side. It was almost instinctual for Cara to want to victimize herself here, as if it wasn't her fault now, that things were backfiring on her. She felt bad for making Holly upset, she really did, but she also didn't really want to deal with it since she knew that if she really wanted to fix this, she would have to take responsibility for lying and trying to diminish Chanel's character unfairly, and she didn't want to do that. "What did you wa--" She made an attempt at ending that conversation right there, in place of asking Holly what she wanted to watch on television, when there was a loud and abrupt knock on the door.

It was unreasonable, given the fact that their neighborhood was pretty safe, but coming from the Upper East Side where every building had a doorman and an impeccable security system, Cara always felt like their apartment building now was abhorrently unsafe. The lack of a doorman, the tenants (who in Cara's mind, were almost all termed as being "sketchy" looking, most for no real reason at all), and the fact that these walls were far thinner than the ones at home, and every night she felt like she heard cop and ambulance sirens, left her on edge. It was the reason why in addition to the normal lock on the door, she had a chain lock installed too, just for the added protection. With Makayla and Brooklyn gone, presumably for the night, Cara had no idea who was knocking, and so loudly at that. If Holly wasn't sitting there and she was home alone, she probably would have called the building manager one hundred times until he answered, when she would demand that he come up and investigate before she open the door. Actually, had this happened a mere twenty-four hours ago, she would have just called Chanel and asked her to see who was outside. That bridge had been burned, though, and with a desire to not make Holly any more uneasy, she got up after handing her the remote and saying, "Let me go get that. You pick something good for us to watch."

"Who is it?" she called out, though she didn't really wait for an answer before proceeding. She made sure that the chain lock was linked in place, but unlocked the bottom lock and pulled the door open just as much as the chain lock, that was still locked, allowed. It gave her about two inches of space between the door frame and the door, and just enough space to see Roman and Nick on the other side. "Can I help you?" she demanded impatiently. They were the absolute last people she wanted to see.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Roman showed up by his side a moment after Nick knocked on the door, and though the sudden presence by his side caught him off guard momentarily, he was too intoxicated to really react to the surprise. With his back to the other side of the hall, he didn't see Roman come out of their new apartment, and even if he had, it still probably would not have clicked yet that that was where they lived now. "It's a Friday night. Of-fucking-course I'm drunk," he answered, as if they were college frat kids and being drunk on a Friday night wasn't something that even needed to be confirmed. Nick did drink pretty regularly, but he didn't usually do it to get wasted, and especially compared to Brooklyn, his habits were pretty normal. Today was an exception, of course, but normally, he would probably consume a couple of beers a night if he had them on hand, and maybe a little bit of liquor on the weekends, but nothing crazy. Marijuana was his preferred vice because not only did he prefer that sort of buzz, but he had easier access to that than alcohol. When he smoked his own supply, it was still costing him money, but it seemed like it did in a lesser extent since it was all paid for in advance, compared to how he had to dish out cash every time he wanted alcohol from a store. "I got pizza," he said, stating the obvious, as he raised the box slightly. "Want some? I'm about to have like, five of these slices, if you want the other three." Roman had banged on the door in a noticeably harder manner than Nick had, and his knock garnered a faster response too, because a few seconds later, Cara's voice was audible asking who was there. Nick would have answered, identifying himself and stating that he had lost his key, had she not pulled the door open slightly before he could.

He wasn't experiencing amnesia and wasn't completely disassociated with what had went on earlier, but he had numbed out most of the bad parts, so seeing part of Cara's face through the cracked door didn't suddenly bring him back to reality. In fact, seeing Cara did nothing short of turn him on. He had forgotten Brooklyn for a while in his quest to get drunk, but now she was back on his mind. Not in a good way, where he wanted to play the role of the knight in shining armor and do something romantic and worthy of winning her back, but in a way where he was thinking "fuck her". Fuck her for always putting him down, for being hypocritical and unsupportive. Yeah, he fucked up by cheating on her, but now she was gone, and Nick was drunk and in the mindset where he wasn't going to waste time chasing someone who didn't like him. Instead, he would chase someone who was equally anti-him, far out of his league, blonde and bitchy, but wore a different name tag, and a different expectation in terms of relationships. "Let us in, Caraline," he said, her full name coming out teasingly. "We come bearing pizza."

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Roman had half a mind to take a picture of Nick and send it to Brooke saying, "Your doing." Nick had always been a pretty chill guy, and they'd gone through a lot together, like living in a basement up until the other year, which was probably why he wasn't particularly phased by Nick's out of character drinking. He would be honest with himself by saying that he was also just deflecting, since the information he had in possession really only posed Nick as the bad guy. It was likely his own fault that he didn't assume there was something more to Brooke's story, especially since she didn't take blame anything half the time, but he'd genuinely felt bad for her when they were at the park. She just seemed different, so he didn't even think to question it, and besides, what kind of friend would he have been to even make an accusation about her doing in the situation? If he somehow knew that she'd slept with Ryan, he'd give up on the entire ordeal and say to hell with the both of them and they fucked up relationship problems. The current reality, though, wasn't as messy as the actual truth, so his annoyance was still warranted in his opinion.

He'd been too busy staring at Nick with abysmal apathy and disinterest to hear Cara come to the door. Even when she opened it, he had to only roll his eyes towards her as a reaction to the both of them: Nick being pathetic (and for what?) and Cara being Cara by being dramatic and not opening the door all the way. "You shut the fuck up. Nobody wants your bloody pizza," Roman said to Nick, but his voice wasn't as cruel as his words were. He saved that for Cara as he turned his attention to her. "And you," he said before shoving the door so that it forced against the chain lock. "Open the fucking door." Had he known Holly was inside, his behavior would have been altered. Roman could be an ass a lot of the time to a lot of people, but he tended to keep it in check, or at least try to when she was around. Regardless, in the grand scheme of things, he had no reason to be acting the way he was, but for him, it was completely justified. He didn't owe Cara shit and he was already in a bad mood and facing the consequences from something he didn't do. Never mind that him and Cara had always had their problems and he probably would have gotten kicked out on his own accord at some point, even though he tried to censor himself most of the time while he was still living with her. Now that they weren't roommates anymore and she didn't pose a threat to him in the slightest, especially not with the way she was cowering behind the door, he had no reason to filter himself. With the way he was feeling, he thought his behavior was already being contained. He wasn't yelling or doing anything, but, he told himself, that would quickly change if need be.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Nick was incredibly annoying, as he was the whole reason why she was dealing with all of today's stress, but strangely, his presence didn't irritate her half as much as Roman's did. Maybe it was because he was so much more rude in this present moment, or maybe it was just that generally, he was incredibly more easy to dislike than Nick. In her opinion, at least. He wasn't as good looking, he wasn't as polite, and he wasn't as grateful. Cara knew it was wrong to expect people to be showering her in "thank you's", especially when they had been paying their own way, but she felt like Roman took her kindness for granted. He had seen today, that she was the one with the power, at least, and that his bad attitude only made him that much easier to kick out. Out of himself, Brooklyn and Nick, he had technically been the only one who had no involvement in this little love triangle thing. Brooklyn was the "other woman" and Nick was the one she was engaging with, but Roman was just the friend. Technically, he should have been safe from being kicked out, even if he likely would have left anyway since Brooklyn and Nick were his friends, but his abhorrent personality made Cara all the more eager to give him the boot too.

There were no attractive qualities to him, and just the way that he was so willing to talk that way in the hallway instilled that her dislike for him had been well-founded. Anyone would have found the way he spoke to Cara to be rude, but for Cara, who refused to acknowledge her part in creating that sour relationship, she felt like it was exceptionally unacceptable. No one had the right to talk to her the way that Roman did, and he was absolutely out of his mind if she thought that she was going to open the door up for these two criminals! Now that they were out of her apartment and she felt like she could really sever her ties with them, they most definitely were criminals. Drug users and drug sellers, and just despicable people in general. "You two need to get away from my door or else I'm calling the police," she began, her tone slightly hushed as to not alarm Holly, who sat only feet away on the couch. "You don't live here anymore, all of your things are gone, and you have no reason to be over here. Take your pizza and go be pathetic losers in your new place, kay?"

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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"Shit, man. No need to fucking hate on my pizza, man," Nick said in a manner that was dramatized half on purpose, and the other half, in a genuine drunk reaction to Roman claiming that no one wanted his pizza after he had offered some to Cara. "More for me, then," he added, then with a much less caring shrug as he considered how amazing it was going to be to get high and eat an entire pizza on his own. It was only when Cara spoke to them through the door with that condescending and bitchy tone that she always had, but only usually used with Roman and Ryan, that Nick realized that he didn't live there any more. That warranted a laugh, his drunk mind told him. How could he be so stupid and forget that he had switched apartments? For some reason, after the quick chuckle to himself, it deserved an irremovable grin, too. He didn't know why Roman had come across the hall, but he also wasn't in a state of mind to be correctly processing and reasoning things, so he figured that he had just made the same mistake as him. That didn't make much sense, for more reasons than one, but the way that Roman had pushed against the barely-open door was a good indicator that he wasn't just drunk and forgetful. If anyone should have been happy about the move, Nick actually thought it should have been Roman. He had never gotten along with Cara and now he was going to get to live in a room that was just as livable, but without uptight Ryan in the bed across from him, and whiny Cara holding it over their head that she was their saving grace.

"I will go be a pathetic loser in my own place," he decided, announcing it as if it were a feat rather than an insult aimed at himself, as he turned around and took a few steps across the hall. He only turned back to lift the pizza once more as he looked at Roman. "I'll forgive you for what you said if you decide you want some food later," he said, turning around then and crossing the hall. He searched his pockets once again, only to find that again, there was no key. He must have left his new one inside somewhere. "Killens, be a gentleman and open this for me, will ya?" Pizza, weed and sex with Cara would have made this an ideal night, but Cara's tone and words had been a quick deterrent, and he had easily decided that the last of the three wasn't worth compromising the good mood he was in surrounding the first two. Especially as it began to resonate a little bit more, as to why he was now calling "across the hall" home.