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Ryan Forrester

0 · 784 views · located in New York

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

Description

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Full Name:
Ryan John Forrester

Nickname:
RJ

Age:
19

Birthday:
June 20th

Sexuality:
Heterosexual

Hometown:
Upper East Side of New York City

Occupation:
Sophomore student at NYU
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Positive Characteristics:
Intelligent, Driven, Kind

Negative Characteristics:
Insecure, Sensitive, Pushover

Disposition:
Overall, Ryan is a good kid. He has a good heart, usually does things with good intentions, and is the kind of person that most people would want to be friends with. He's easy to talk to, is understanding and sympathetic, and genuinely takes an interest in helping people whenever he can. He cares a lot about other people's feelings and is sometimes too sensitive and caring towards others for his own good. It can result in him being a bit of a pushover, or in him putting other people's needs before his own. He only does it for friends and family, but still, it's affected his choices in ways that sometimes haven't benefited his best interests. His lack of a backbone is something that he knows he developed throughout his childhood. He was always picked on for being scrawny, for hitting puberty later than most kids, and for having an interest in theater and acting when he was young. He was frequently teased, being called gay and slurs related to it, simply because of that. He was never actually gay, and at that age, would have been too young to really care anyway, but the bullying bothered him. His father would say that he was just too sensitive and needed to man up, but being subjected to that time of verbal harassment by his peers made him more in touch with his own friends' feelings, to a point where he would never want them to feel so badly, so he would overcompensate by being a really good friend. It doesn't make much sense, even to him sometimes, but he just decided at a young age that he never wanted anyone to feel badly because of his words or actions, so he puts a lot of thought into how he treats and reacts to people. If he ever does snap at someone, even if it's likely very much deserved, he'll often feel immensely guilty for it.

Aside from being compassionate and helpful, he is intelligent, and a fun person to be around. He likes going on adventures and is always active in one way or another. He's involved in clubs at school, has a fair amount of friends, and tries to keep up a good relationship with his father and stepmother. He has a good sense of humor, and doesn't mind laughing at himself, although because of his history of being bullied, he does often get anxious when he feels like he's the butt of any joke.

Likes:
Photography, art museums, Broadway shows, math, baked goods (especially chocolate chip cookies), fresh fruit, jogging, New York City, sports cars

Dislikes:
History courses, bacon, contact sports, homophobes, being called gay, bullies, incense, cinnamon, frequently consuming fast food, cats

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History:
RJ's upbringing wasn't traditional. For starters, he was born into a very, very wealthy family and spent his childhood frolicking around the city with the children of some of the most influential New Yorkers. Secondly, his mother passed away when he was only five years in the World Trade Center terrorist attack. Like he older sister, he was still a child at the time and wasn't left incredibly scarred by the loss, but no one, young or old, is ever the same person after their parent passes away. After his mother's death, RJ and Cara were raised mostly by nannies. Their father was a workaholic and didn't want to be a father, let alone a single father, so he rarely put in the effort to see his kids. When he did spend time with Ryan, it was usually spent trying to force him into trying out for the baseball team or come to a Giants football game with him.

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Height:
5'8

Build:
Ryan is physically fit, with little fat on his body, but he's never been a kid who looks like he could kill you with a single punch. And it's because he can't. He's not a body builder, he's not a linebacker, and he's not someone who works out for five hours a day. His body is toned more than it is "built". He's not as insecure about it as he used to be, since he's grown out of being scrawny.

Hair Color:
Brown

Eye Color:
Blue

Face Claim:
Sean O'Donnell

So begins...

Ryan Forrester's Story

Setting

Characters Present

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Marie Casanova Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Collin King Character Portrait: Oliver Carver
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Oliver walked, towel around waist, from the bathroom to his bedroom while Collin worked on getting everyone who needed to be present….well, present. He closed and locked the door behind him, tossed his clothes in a hamper in the corner of the room, and worked his way over his bed where the clothes that Collin had laid out for him were spread out. He looked at the clothes and couldn’t decide whether or not he would look good in them. He was partially sure he would because Collin had picked them out from his own closet but the other half of him was skeptical because Oliver and Collin were very different people with different styles and body shapes. Perhaps, however, it wasn’t the clothes that made him uncomfortable but the fact that he’d had to put on a happy face for everyone when in reality he felt like just crawling into bed and laying there until earth stopped rotating. He felt miserable. To Oliver, he was the reason was his parents split and now that all these family oriented holidays are approaching and the last people he’s spending time with is his family, it made him feel as though his family was permanently torn apart – and it was all his fault. Oliver shook the idea out of his head and sighed, telling himself that he was going to pretend to be happy until he was. “Fake it ‘til you make it, right?” He mumbled to himself. Oliver dressed and took a peek in the mirror Collin had hung on the back of the door. And much to Oliver’s dismay, he looked well put together.

Once Oliver had finished dressing himself, he started his way towards the kitchen. Opening the door to the hallway, he could see and hear Collin banging on the door to Isaac’s room. Oliver chuckled quietly to himself and continued to the kitchen to pour himself some juice and eat a snack. Collin followed to the same path, stopping just short of the kitchen. Collin frantically texted everyone while Oliver calmly sat himself on the couch with a cup of orange juice and a box of Frosted Flakes. “You’re gonna get carpel tunnel texting like that dude,” Oliver joked while inserting a handful of cereal into his mouth. Without taking his eyes off his phone Collin extended his arm towards Oliver, flipping him the bird. Oliver could only smile in amusement. Without so much as a second passing Isaac was out of his room and messing with Collin as well. ”Hey Jude” was all that was needed from Isaac to send Collin’s eyes darting from his phone down the other side of the hall. Isaac meant it all in good fun, especially when he shot Collin a grin and the finger. “So we’re all gonna be fucks today?” Collin said jokingly, but loud enough for Isaac to hear as he moved into the bathroom. “We just want to be more like you,” Oliver joked, which Collin glanced towards Oliver mockingly for.

“Dude, relax. You’re really uptight right now. You’re acting like me.” It was interesting for Oliver to see Collin this way. Collin was usually the type of guy to be very relaxed about everything, he didn’t let most things bother him the same Oliver did. So to see Collin running around the apartment as though the world just caught on fire was strange for Oliver. “Yeah…” Collin sighed and sat beside Oliver on the couch, throwing his feet onto the coffee table. “It’s just that my dad is coming and he can sometimes be a dick about things so I always have to just stay on my toes with him. He doesn’t like that I moved out here and thinks that my life is going to shit pretty much so I need to be able to impress him so that he doesn’t try to, like, kidnap me back home or whatever. I need him to see that my life is put together, you know?” Collin turned his attention to Oliver from where it was fixated on the wall. Oliver nodded, he knew exactly what it was like to feel as though you were a huge disappointment. “Don’t worry though. You’ll be fine. You are the King after all.” Oliver smiled warmly at Collin. “Yeah… Thanks man.” Collin smiled back.


* * *


Collin and Oliver sat on the couch together, waiting for the Kings, Marie, and for Isaac to finish getting dressed. While on the couch, Oliver received a text. He pulled his phone from his pocket to see that the text was from a friend of his, Ryan, who lived in 5C just across the hall. He typed back:

To: Ryan
Collin’s parents are comin’ over. We’re probably going to lunch with them then coming back here and chillin for dinner. What’re you up to today?



He slipped his phone back into his pocket. Collin questioned him on what was up while he read his own text coming from Marie. “Oh, it was just Ryan from 5C. Wanted to know what our plans were for Turkey Day.” Collin nodded, only half listening to what Oliver said. Collin’s phone buzzed again, while in his hand, this time with a text from his mother.

From: Momma King
Two blocks away, Collie xoxo


“Ah, fucking hell. They’re nearly here.” Collin sprang up from his seat, just as Isaac walked into the room asking where his parents were. “Two blocks away. If you’re not ready, get ready.” Collin rushed from the room to find his shoes and his coat. “Someone call Marie and ask her where the hell she is!” Collin yelled from the inside of the closet in his room, barely audible. Just then, Marie came bursting through the door like the personality she was and sat herself onto the couch where Oliver and Collin had just been sitting while shouting her presence known. Oliver, who was following Collin into the room, replied back to Collin. “She just walked through the door.”


* * *


Collin and Oliver joined the rest of the group out in the living room as Collin’s parents approached. Everyone stood around making small talk while Collin went downstairs to greet his parents and his brother.

“Hey mom. Dad. Seth,” Collin smiled as the three got out of the taxi.

“Hi honey,” Collin’s mother walked to him with arms spread to greet him with a hug. He returned the favor and pulled away to say hi to his brother and father, who he too hugged.

“You guys ready to come upstairs?” His parents exchanged looks, which Collin noticed. “What? What’s wrong?”

“Did I not tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“Honey, we’re not staying. We told Uncle Paul that we’d be there to help early so we have to drive out there. We’re going there now.”

“Wait, what? What the hell? I thought we were doing lunch?”

“We want to but we just don’t have time. We have to go help set up for dinner. You know that Uncle Pat is having a rough time with Aunt Lucy passing. We need to be there for him today.”

Collin sighed, sticking his hands into his pants pockets. He wasn’t sure if he had the right to be upset with his parents right now or not. He thought they had plans but he wasn’t going to deny his Uncle Pat the help he needed right now, especially after his wife passed away from cancer that she had been battling for nearly two decades now. Reluctantly, Collin nodded. “Yeah…” He was upset but tried his best not to show it. “I should let you get going then. I just wanted you guys to meet everyone but I guess we’ll just have to do it another time.”

“Sorry honey. We’ll plan.” Collin’s mother smiled warmly and forgivingly. Collin nodded and hugged his family as they readied to leave. “Give Uncle Pat my condolences.” His mother smiled at him as she got into the taxi. “I will honey. Take care of yourself okay? Tell the gang we’re sorry and hello.” He smiled warmly at her, nodded, and shut the door of the taxi cab as she got into it. The cab drove away slowly. Collin stood there, watching it leave wondering just what he was going to say to everyone so his head didn’t get chopped off. He sighed, kicked his feet against the ground, and turned to go back upstairs.

Collin took the elevator up, the entire time thinking of just what to say to everyone who had been pressured into this exact moment. When he opened the door, alone, he could see waiting and questioning eyes land on him. “So…” He started nervously. “They’re not coming. My aunt passed away and this is my uncle’s first holiday without her so they went over there. They told me to say hi to everyone and apologize. Soooo….” Collin paused. He rubbed the back of his neck while staring at the ground and then back up at everyone. “So if you guys want; you can go do whatever now. Sorry.” Collin, upset, walked into his room, gently shutting the door, and sat on his bed.

Unsure of what to do, Oliver looked up at Isaac and Marie. “Should I talk to him? Maybe we could plan something else to do. To cheer him up. And us.”

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

To: Cara
Alright, don't go crazy though

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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


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

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

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

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

To: Cara
cool sounds good.

To: Roman
lmk

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Ryan had ten minutes to himself before he heard the apartment door open. He craned his neck to the side to see who it was, but when he saw Brooklyn and Nick coming in, he leaned back on the couch. If it had been Cara, he would have cared, but he wasn't close with the two of them. Brooklyn was definitely hot enough to boast about being roommates with, but she was scary as hell, and he couldn't remember ever actually having a real conversation that extended past polite hellos and goodbyes. It wasn't like she was drastically older than him or that different, but he didn't think they would have anything in common to talk about. Plus, Nick kind of freaked him out a bit too. He wasn't scared of him, but he always seemed straight faced or deep in thought, and Ryan felt like he was the type to be protective over his girlfriend. The fact that he was a known drug dealer and user crossed off the possibility of Ryan ever wanting to actually be friends with him anyway.

He hoped that they were just going to pass through to get to their room. He would have smiled and mumbled a hello or waved, but he didn't get it that easy. Nick said hi, but continued to talk, asking about Roman and Cara, and remained standing a few feet away. "I think I saw Roman in our room, yeah," he began, partly closing his laptop screen down as he pushed it off of his lap and onto the cushion beside him. He wasn't planning on getting up or anything, but it seemed more polite to do that than to appear like he was still focused on his screen. "And Caraline? She's not here, but I'm not sure where she is exactly. I think she's out with that girl Chanel picking stuff up for dinner, but I'm not sure," he responded, hoping that that would be good enough for them to leave him alone.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin
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"Oh, okay, cool," Nick responded, nodding as Ryan explained where his sister and Roman were. Again, he figured he was probably just overthinking things again, but he felt weird storming into Ryan's room to see Roman, even though it was Roman's room too. It wasn't his room, so he felt like he would be breaking some sort of privacy rule by not asking if it was okay to go in, with Ryan sitting right there. He didn't feel comfortable with asking that either, since it seemed so unnecessary, so he just headed to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. "Want anything to drink, Brooke? We still have a few beers or I can make you a drink if you want. I think we still have some of that cotton candy vodka left..." he said, his voice trailing off as he started to rummage through the cabinets. He read Makayla's text and planned on going over, but he wanted to make sure that Brooklyn was set first, and possibly see if Roman was there too. He didn't respond to Makayla but managed to send Isaac a quick text.

To: Isaac
probably smoking in 5B in a few. buds on the house today since i'm in the holiday spirit lol. come thru if ur craving

Brooklyn didn't rush when they got into the apartment. She took off her jacket and shoes, something that she had decided was a ritual at the apartment. For years, she had desperately wanted a place to call home, and now that they had a somewhat stable living situation, she was going to take advantage of it and make it feel as homey as she could. When she thought back to rituals in her house growing up, taking her shoes off at the door was always one of them. Her mother was meticulous with things like that, and though she wasn't a clean freak like the woman, she had taken up the habit again as a way to remind herself that this could be a home for her. She listened to Nick speak to Ryan for a few seconds before following her boyfriend towards the couch. She smiled at Ryan, but didn't say anything, and turned to watch Nick as he headed into the kitchen area. "Yeah, make me whatever you made me last night. The one with that vodka and the cranberry juice, and Sprite, I think it was," she responded. It was a little early for vodka, but oh well. It was a holiday. That would be her excuse today.

"I'll be right back," she chirped a moment later as she left her place by the counter and headed down the hall and into her bedroom. She hung her coat up, placed her shoes in the corner, and then headed back out, but not into the kitchen. Instead, she slipped in Roman and Ryan's room. "Rise and shine, Ro Ro," she said in an obnoxiously cheerful, sing song voice as she gave a sharp nudge to Roman's side. She didn't care that she was basically pulling a Holly by waking him up, and doing the one thing that she would spend hours ranting about if it happened to her. She was waking Roman up for his own good. There was no use in sleeping all day when he could be hanging out with Nick, and potentially getting good life advice. Brooklyn wanted to laugh at that thought. Who was she kidding, acting like her drug dealer of a boyfriend who cheated on her had any life advice? Holly could probably offer Roman better guidance than Nick at this point. At the very least, Brooklyn could say that she was certain that Nick had just as good of intentions with Roman as she did, so she was confident that the two socializing would only be good for both of them. Nick wouldn't think it would be okay to fuck anymore hoes with Roman around, and Roman wouldn't be getting concussions in Nick's presence. She gave him one more nudge before flipping the light switch on and opening up the blinds that covered the bedroom's window. It was definitely obnoxious and if he was suffering from a hangover, it might have been a death wish, but she didn't care. "Nick wants to hang out with his favorite loser, so get dressed and go hang out with him. Unless you want to stay and hang out with Cara and Chanel and I," she said, making her way to the doorway. She knew he wouldn't want to take the latter offer, but she knew that waking him up in the manner that she did might just as easily result in him rejecting both offers and being annoyed all day.

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

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

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

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

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Brooklyn left the kitchen and between then and the time she reappeared, he was able to put together the drink she wanted. It took every last drop of the flavored vodka they had, and he was sure that even with that, it was going to taste light to her, but it was all they had. He knew that Cara had alcohol stocked away somewhere, but he and Brooklyn were pretty good about only using their own things. Cara could say that they were bad roommates in other ways, like how they were constantly yelling or how they brought along extra, unwanted baggage, or whatever wonderfully endearing term she chose to describe Roman that say, but they didn't steal her things.

Although Brooklyn was only gone for a couple of minutes, it took Nick half of that time to make the drink, and the other half felt like it dragged on. He had positioned himself far enough in the kitchen where he couldn't see Ryan, and he knew the kid was watching television and likely didn't want to be bothered, but he wondered if he should try to make conversation. Nick wasn't overtly friendly, but it was simply because he was more comfortable in silence. He didn't know if everyone else was the same though, and if socializing was a genetic thing, Cara's brother wouldn't be like him in that matter. Luckily, Brooklyn reappeared with Roman only a few steps behind her before Nick could convince himself that small talk could somehow be a good idea in this situation. He grabbed a cold beer from the fridge and placed it on the counter, waiting to open it. He was busy smirking at the interaction that played out between Roman and Brooklyn. Their back and forth banter was always amusing, but it was just one more thing that Nick was sure would be ruined if he came clean to Brooklyn about Cara, and their relationship ended. He didn't know if Roman would choose his side or Brooklyn's, but he wouldn't blame him for taking hers. He was wrong, and there was no way to justly excuse what he did, but it was a mistake. He had to say it over and over in his head, and he still wasn't always convinced that he believed it, but it had to have been a mistake.

"Hey, she's not up your ass," he said, attempting to sound like he was truly trying to defend her, but falling a little short in the authenticity of the tone. Normally, he wouldn't have even commented on it, but this was Boyfriend Nick Version 2.0. "She just doesn't want you around to cause trouble with Cara when she gets back. Brooke's helping her with her Thanksgiving dinner thing," he reasoned, lowering his voice just a bit so that Ryan couldn't hear. It wasn't like he was saying anything bad about Cara, but the constant tension between his roommate and sister had to put Ryan in an awkward spot. "But I'm gonna head over there now, so take your toast to go if you wanna come." He looked towards Brooklyn with a smile, as he slid the drink in her direction. "I left some of my 'product' in Makayla's apartment, so I'm gonna go pick that up and try to make a few sales downstairs. Text me if you need anything, but we should be back within the hour," he explained. It wasn't the complete truth, but it sounded better than saying that they were about to go sit on Makayla's bedroom floor and get high. With that, he made a dash for his bedroom, and there he grabbed his bowl and his spare one, and a bag of marijuana from his stash, which he pocketed before returning to the kitchen. He took his beer from the counter and ended up going back to the fridge to grab one more for Makayla. "Just in case," he commented with a half-grin. "Take the last one if you think you're gonna be thirsty, because you're not getting one of these," he said to Roman, nodding towards the fridge now that his hands were full, as he began to walk towards the front of the apartment.

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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As Brooklyn left Roman's room, she considered going back in to make a comment about how much of a crybaby he could be, but she held her tongue. Waking him up when it actually wasn't that late in the day was probably mean enough for now. She continued back into the kitchen where Nick still stood. Her drink appeared to be ready on the counter, but she didn't reach for it yet. There was never a day when Brooke would turn down alcohol, but today was going well enough where she wasn't craving it. Plus, the past two weeks had entailed enough bottles of straight liquor where she was actually beginning to become concerned for her liver's health. It had survived years of intense drinking, so she knew that worrying now was futile, but finding out that Nick had cheated on her hadn't been pretty, and having to mask that anger and shock because she didn't want him to know she knew, only made her turn to the bottle more.

"Don't-!" she snapped when she felt Roman wrapping his arm around her neck, but he was too fast for her to fully object before he was pushing her head and releasing her. She scowled at him, but decided that they were even now. Or at least they were even until he made a comment about them being his parents, and her being up his ass. Of course, that was what she got for being a good friend. Though playful, they were comments she told herself she needed to remember next time she tried to be nice to Roman and help him. She made a mental note to try to get Holly in their apartment the next morning to wake him up at the crack of dawn. That, or she'd punch him the next time he came home from a fight looking like he was already on his death bed.

By that point, she was more ready for her drink, so she accepted it with a softer smile when Nick slid it to her. Only one sip in and she could tell that it was too sugary, and less vodka-y for her tastes, but she also saw the empty vodka bottle and knew that that was as good as it was going to get for now. "Pick up some vodka if you end up going out," she requested before Nick headed towards their bedroom. While he was out of sight, she picked up her drink and moved closer to Roman, getting one kick to his leg in before backing up. "That's for being an ass when I'm always a good friend to you," she challenged in a tone that was serious, but playfully so. She took another sip of the drink and followed Nick to the door after he reappeared and grabbed two beers. "Be good," she warned, though she couldn't keep a smile from finding its way to her lips before she reached up with her free hand to pull his face down to peck his lips. The smile was genuine, too. Even though in her mind, her inner monologue was running with comments about how "be good" meant "don't fuck anymore sluts", she couldn't help but to genuinely smile when looking at him at the moment. She closed the door behind him when he left, but when she returned to walking back into the apartment, she didn't acknowledge Roman in the kitchen again, and just headed into her room, where she shut the door, sat down on the bed, and tried to enjoy her drink.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Marie Casanova Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Collin King Character Portrait: Oliver Carver
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Collin looked up when the door of his bedroom opened. He had expected his friends to leave and to their own thing. He didn’t think anyone would stop in to check on him and if anyone had, he had expected it to be Oliver, not Isaac. But nonetheless, there was Isaac, tossing himself onto Collin’s bed. He nudged Collin’s shoulder and Collin turned his attention to Isaac. He smiled to Isaac’s attempt to cheer him up and thought it was funny that Isaac of all people would be the person trying to attempt to crack a joke about Marie’s level of attraction or Collin dropping acid with Isaac and watching the parade. It brought a smile to Collin’s face. He appreciated the level of friendship that he and Isaac had because it was something he had been missing for quite a while. He didn’t have these friendships back at home. Then again, he never really tried. “Yeah man, exactly what the Pilgrims would have wanted for future generations.” He laughed hard, gently and jokingly shoving Isaac. He laughed until he couldn’t breathe, the thought of him tripping on acid with Isaac wasn’t a plan Collin would have normally gone along with but right now it was the laugh he needed. His laugh came down into him searching for breath. “Thanks for that, man. Come on though, let’s get out there and make plans. I’m not gonna stay in here all night.” Collin stood up and straightened out his pants and shirt. “That’s not what Collin King is about.” Collin winked at Isaac and walked towards the door, swinging it open and heading down the short hall to the living room.

“Alright bitches! Let’s get this party fuckin’ started!” Collin shouted as he made his way past his friends in the living room to the kitchen. He opened a cupboard and pulled out several handles of alcohol, slamming each bottle on the counter. He searched for shot glasses and solo cups next. He looked up at his friends with a grin on his face. “Let’s fucking make memories to be thankful for, huh?” Collin popped open a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. He poured four shots and looked up at his friends. “So? Anyone joining me?


* * *


Oliver stood out in the living room with Marie while Isaac went into Collin’s room to talk him out of the weird mood he was in. He sat down on the couch next to Marie. She spoke and he nodded his head in agreement to her idea. “I think he’ll be alright. It’s probably just the shock of being without his family. He’s a big family man believe it or not.” He responded to her while answering a text from Ryan.

To: Ryan
We’ll probs head ovr. Our plans got cancelled

Oliver didn’t really know how to talk to Marie. They were friends, probably more so than anyone else but he also had a sliver of a crush on her and the fact that Collin and Marie had a causal relationship drew Oliver away from the idea of Marie ever wanting to be with a guy like Oliver. He felt as though he wasn’t the type of guy Marie would ever go for. While he sat there quietly, he looked at her. He watched her as she brought her cup to her mouth, he watched her lips when she spoke, he watched her eyes when she smiled, he watched the way he did things. He was intrigued by her. He thought her to be magnificent in the way she lived her life but to be completely honest, he was intimidated by her. Intimidated by the way she lived her life – freely. He didn’t know how anyone could be so bold as to not care about anything – or at least to give the impression they did not care about anything.

“How ‘bout you? No family plans?” He wanted to engage her. He hated sitting out there awkwardly. Oliver was sweet but he wasn’t exactly the most social person. At times he wished he could be the type of guy that Collin was, but he cared too much. Cared when people got hurt, cared when people felt uncomfortable or used. Only sometimes did he want to not care – but he wasn’t that guy. Oli watched her as she spoke, smiled when she looked at him, nodded as he listened to her speak. It was barely a conversation starting when Collin broke out from his room and started shouting excited profanity into the air. Oliver shot up from the couch, as if he had been doing something wrong and was being confronted for it, and watch Collin excitedly run past him into the kitchen where he started to pour shots for everyone. Oliver met the gaze Collin gave the room, then the gaze of Isaac and Marie. He shrugged his shoulder and started making his way to the kitchen to take hold of a shot glass. His thanksgiving was going pretty shitty too. He might as well join in drinking away his sorrows.

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Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Marie Casanova Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Collin King Character Portrait: Oliver Carver
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As each shot was thrown back, a tasteful choir of sharp breaths and clanging glasses made music to the ears of the boys. They smiled at each other as their two friends joined in, with the toast and the shot itself. Soon after it seemed as though everyone made their own separate ways. Marie to her room and Isaac to join one of his friends to go smoke. Smoking wasn’t one of Oliver’s favorite things to do but he didn’t want to get stuck in the house when everyone else had plans. He considered for a second texting Ryan to see if he was up to anything right now so that the two could relieve the mild awkwardness of sitting on someone’s couch they barely spoke to. He removed his phone from his pocket and sent Ryan a quick text, not expecting a quick reply.

To: Ryan
Busy rn?

He slipped his phone back in his pocket only to notice that he was, in fact, already alone. He scoffed at his empty surroundings, “Fucking typical.” He shook his head and followed everyone’s ghost out the door. He shut the door behind him and walked a few feet over to apartment 5B where he was sure at least Collin would be, with Marie. He knocked on the door shly and waited for an answer to come.


* * *



Everyone dispersed quickly and before they knew it Collin and Oliver were alone in the apartment. Marie walked her way out and invited anyone who wanted to join to do so at their own risk. He noticed Oliver on his phone texting God knows who and playfully scoffed to himself. He walked out of the apartment, following Marie, leaving Oliver behind in the apartment. He left their door open so that Oliver would get the hint to follow, hoping he would.

Collin followed Marie into the apartment by a few seconds, he took his shoes off at the door and took in a deep breath of whatever it was that they were baking. “Ladies,” He kindly greeted as he walked in. “That seems awesome,” He pointed over to the kitchen as he made his way over to get a closer look at what they were doing. Cupcakes. One of Collin’s guilty pleasures. He didn’t have many of them because the sugar made him feel like shit afterwards but he did have to say that if he were to ever indulge in an extreme cheat meal, cupcakes would be the way to go. Collin made his way back over to the couch where Marie and Holly sat and joined them, placing his legs on top of Marie’s and leaning back on the arm of the couch, Collin playfully made himself comfortable. He slipped his phone out his pocket and sent out one single text.

To: Marie
Hey hottie, how bout a quicky ;)

He hit send and looked up to watch her reaction to the text. Collin was back in his playful mood and now he wanted to play.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roman Killens.

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

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

Isaac hated himself sometimes. He really did.

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

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

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

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

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


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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





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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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