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Nathan Miller

"The night is still just getting started."

0 · 185 views · located in New York

a character in “are we the waiting”, as played by nonconformingrole

Description

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"In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria."
In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.-Benjamin Franklin

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i d e n t i t y
xxxxx|| Name || Nathan James Miller
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xxxxx|| Nicknames || Nate
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xxxxx|| Gender || cismale
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xxxxx|| Age || 25
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xxxxx|| Birthday || June 10
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xxxxx|| Sexuality || bisexual
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xxxxx|| Hometown || Staten Island, New York
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xxxxx|| Ethnicity || white american
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a p p e a r a n c e

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xxxxx|| Height || 6'3"
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xxxxx|| Weight || 196 lbs
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xxxxx|| Hair Color || brown, though it does tend to be lighter in the summer.
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xxxxx|| Eye Color || blue
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xxxxx|| Identifying Features || n/a
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xxxxx|| Description || One word to describe Nate is large: he is tall, muscular, and generally intimidating. Or, he would be, if he didn't have the general countenance of a golden retriever. His face is nothing if not friendly; even aggressively so. He can't seem to make a stern face if he tries, he just always seems to come across as friendly and approachable. His hair is kept short, and often looks fairly messy. Whether this in intentional or from laziness is anyone's guess. Nate often sports some form of facial hair, normally nothing that can really be called a beard, but it's always there. Nate's style is nothing to write home about. He dresses in a classic all-american way. Mostly tee-shirts, jeans, maybe a jacket or a coat. He'll throw a nice sweater into the mix on occasion, mostly when he's trying to dress up; collared shirts are the ultimate enemy, as far as he's concerned. He doesn't experiment much, aside from maybe throwing in a new color to the mix on occasion. He does, however, adore sneakers, and has been collecting them since he was in high school.
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p e r s o n a l i t y

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Nathan has been described as a gentle giant: with his kind heart and his warm smile, it’s not hard to see why. Many who know him have shared the sentiment that they aren’t sure he’d be capable of hurting a fly, others wonder if he has a temper at all. If he does, he never seems to lose it, even when you’re intentionally trying to push his buttons. He always seems to be a happy, kind, patient guy- and it doesn’t seem to be an act, either, he seems to just genuinely have a heart of gold and a non-existent mean streak. It’s hard to say if he’s always been that way, or if he’s simply learned to be kind. People who have known him for a while can remember a temper that, while it didn’t flare constantly, was very real.

Nate is loud; from his voice to his laugh, he is boisterous through and through. He’s always happy to engage in some sort of shenanigans to make someone smile. While he doesn’t engage in the same kinds of dares and stupid stunts he used to do, he’s still desperate for acceptance and companionship, so there isn’t much he won’t do. He does occasionally come off as a bit stunted; like he never fully grew up. He doesn’t always seem to be capable of really behaving like an adult, and one may wonder if that’s because he’s never tried. He tries to be a good friend, and to be there for people, but there is a sort of immaturity in him that makes it hard for him to pick up on unspoken cues or signs that the people around him need him.

There is another side to him, however seldom seen, that’s thoughtful, and perhaps even somewhat poetic. Nostalgic and afraid, he carries on with his life as if nothing has changed, even though it’s more accurate to say that nothing is the same. This is the part of him that knows he is ultimately responsible for his failures and his inability to function as a proper adult. And yet, he refuses to let go of the past and grow. It’s like an ever-growing shadow engulfing him: he can’t escape it, so he’s stopped trying to.

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f l a v o r

xxxxx|| Likes || Nate loves sports, he likes to watch them, he used to love to play various sports. They used to keep him out of trouble, but when his grades dropped and he wasn’t eligible for the teams, he substituted sports for parties. He likes a good beer, almost as much as he loves blueberry pie. He loves hugs and other forms of physical affection, as well as hearing other people’s laughter. Nate likes libraries, art galleries, and museums, and while he’s not embarrassed of it, he does tend to keep that fact to himself. He also collects sneakers, and spends entirely too much money on them. He likes to write poetry in his spare time, but doesn’t really plan on doing anything with it, it’s just a hobby.
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xxxxx|| Dislikes || Nate doesn’t like harsh weather, it’s just unpleasant. Yelling and angry voices tend to put Nate on edge, occasionally even to the point of panic. He hates waiting, being bored, and being alone. He’s found a general distaste of dating, mostly because he ends up feeling stupid and unlovable. He hates cooking and cleaning, he’s no good at either, and people tend to make him feel like he didn’t even try. Nate can’t swim, and as such isn’t very fond of bodies of water.
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xxxxx|| Fears || drowning, dying alone.
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xxxxx|| Secrets || Nate was homeless for a while, though he was mostly living from couch to couch. He made most of his money in that time period by sleeping with rich, bored, housewives. He has a few assault charges on his record, both were ultimately dropped (one by the other party, the other by a judge), but they do hang over his head.xx
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m i s c e l l a n e o u s

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xxxxx|| Relationship Status || single
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xxxxx|| Talents || Nathan is, at a glance, not good at much beyond having a good time. However, he is very physically fit; he’s a fast runner, and packs a hell of a punch. It’s pretty rare to get him riled up enough to get into a fight, but if you do, you’re likely in for a bad time. Alternatively, he is surprisingly eloquent with the written word, though not so much spoken word.
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xxxxx|| Strengths || Nate is friendly and approachable, which is a good thing when making new friends. He’s also just physically imposing enough to make most anything think twice before crossing him. He’s surprisingly determined if he wants something to work out, and isn’t one to give up quickly. He stays fairly true to himself, no matter the circumstances; you won’t find him losing himself in a job or a hobby, or a new relationship.
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xxxxx|| Weaknesses || Nathan tends to not take himself seriously enough, and he also tends to act like a giant man-child. He often has no idea what he wants, and so he has no drive to achieve his goals. He hates uncomfortable feelings, and will go out of his way to avoid them, even to his own detriment. He really tends to take on guilt in situations: his mother blamed him for everything, and in turn he blames himself for everything.

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h i s t o r y

When he was a baby, Nate’s mother adored him. She would sit and stare at him for hours, cooing over how sweet his was, how perfect. Then he got a little older. Nathan was an extremely independent toddler, and his mother often cried that he no longer loved her, he hated her, he was such a bad child. She still protected him from his father, at least, until his younger brother was born. The new baby became the perfect child, and Nate was blamed for everything. It got worse when his sister was born, then his mother only had eyes for her youngest, and her two boys were lost to their father’s anger. Everything was still Nate’s fault, though, and he often got the worst of it.

Nathan was both constantly treated like a child and expected to behave like an adult, he was just supposed to know which he was supposed to be that day, and if he was wrong, there were consequences. He never really tried to hide how his parents treated him, but no one seemed to want to notice. He used to get so angry, and he just wanted to hurt someone how his father hurt him. He got in fights, got labeled a troublemaker, slipped through the cracks.

Nathan got into partying to get away from his parents, and from the ever-present scowls and raised voices he was so used to at home. It wasn’t a healthy coping mechanism, but he treasured the friends he made, and he wanted them to love him. He sort of made a family out of them, since his own family was so dysfunctional. It was only natural that he’d want to please them, so he did whatever it took to make them happy- to make them love him. It went pretty well, until a party went wrong. Erin had dragged Kyle along, and Nate volunteered to hang out with him so she didn't have to worry about him. Nate liked Kyle okay, and didn't mind it. Nate knew how protective Erin was of Kyle, and really did intend on staying there with him. He started out just going to get something to drink, he'd be gone for five minutes, tops. Nate hadn't meant to ditch Kyle, but five minutes turned to ten, twenty, thirty, and before he knew it the cops were there. He'll never forget Erin calling him, frantic, "Nate, is Kyle with you?" When they found out that Kyle was the one who was shot, a lot of the blame landed squarely on Nate's shoulders. He tried to apologize, he hadn't meant for it to happen. But he couldn't change the past.

Shortly after he graduated high school, he and his father got into a big fight. He doesn’t even remember what it was about, he just remembered that it was the first time in ages that his father didn’t stick to yelling. The fight got physical, Nathan fought back and never went back home. He still had some of his friends for a while, though he didn’t let them know how bad things were. The group falling apart gutted him, losing contact with the rest of his friends was horrible for him. He didn’t have anyone else, and he didn’t know what to do. Now, he’s living in a tiny apartment with 3 roommates, and even with their combined efforts they’re barely making ends meet. Every romantic partner has left him, citing having no desire to be his parent, and Nate generally feels like a total loser. His life, it seems, is going nowhere. When Jamie reached out inviting him to one last party, getting everyone together for old-time’s sake, how could he say no?


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writer: nonconformingrole - fc: Liam Hemsworth - hex code: #E19D29


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So begins...

Nathan Miller's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Shane Tompson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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soren bowers
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hex: #001a52xxxxxxxxxxx outfit: here
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xxxevery face along the boulevard
xxxis a dreamer just like you
xxxyou looked at death in a tarot card
xxxand you knew what you had to do
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The morning of the party, Soren was almost waiting for the pain and the exhaustion to hit. He’d left it until the last minute to confirm to Jamie that they’d be able to play, but Jamie hadn’t had a problem with that. And almost immediately after confirming they were going to play the party, Soren had had a string of bad days. But he was determined not to let them down and that he would play the party, even if he had to be carried off the stage. And then the day before the party was… a surprisingly good day. And that had him convinced that the day of the party was going to be hard. But instead, he woke up to discover that he was actually feeling the best he had in a while.

For a few hours, he kept expecting to hit the metaphorical wall. He went to rehearsal to run through the setlist with the rest of the band. They hadn’t had a show in a few weeks and it felt good to be playing again. He thought that the rehearsal could be what led to him crashing, but instead, it almost made him feel even better. And when he walked out of that rehearsal,he actually let himself start to get excited for the party.

Even since getting back, he’d hardly seen any of the old group besides Erin. He wasn’t even sure where half of them had ended up. And even with everything that had happened between them, he still found himself looking forward to seeing them. He missed the old days, the days when everything was easier. He knew they couldn’t go back to those days. But for one night, they could pretend.

Rehearsal ran on longer than expected,so he had just enough time to get back to the apartment and get changed. Their equipment had already been delivered to Jamie’s apartment, so he could relax and just try to enjoy himself, not having to worry about possibly overstretching himself. He got completely stage ready and called himself a taxi. “Rin, I’m leaving, we still have to soundcheck at Jamie’s! I’ll see you there!” He called as he left.

It seemed that Jamie had hardly changed when he opened the door to them. “Look at you all, proper stars now!” He said, wrapping Soren in a hug. “It’s good to see you, Soren. How have you been?” He asked.
“Good! Wow, it’s been too long, man!” Soren replied. “Thanks so much for asking us to play!”
“Nah man, I was delighted to see you guys could play, your new music has been great! And now I can boast that the great Beautiful Strangers played one of my parties,” he said. “I’ll leave you guys to get set up and soundchecked and all that, but we’ll catch up later, yeah?”

The soundcheck went well, and they got a few technical issues ironed out, and were ready to go as people began to arrive. They excused themselves to get warmed up, Even if this was “just” a houseparty with old friends, he was still determined to give it everything he could.

When they got up on stage, it started to feel like they were back in the good old days. They were singing their own songs and covers, just like they always had, but now they had the experience of touring and it had only made them better. It was the best of both worlds, and it felt so good.

He was breathless and grinning as they finished the set. They took a few minutes to move their equipment into one of the spare rooms, before stepping back out into the party. But Jamie was waiting for Soren, just off to one side, almost in the shadows. “Hey, Sor. You were amazing out there. Like, seriously, I’m so glad that you guys were able to play. It was amazing to see you play again.”

“Thanks. Yeah, it was good to play a house party again. Keep us grounded to our roots, right?” He said with a laugh. “Remind us what it’s really all about.” Jamie laughed.
“It… it really does feel good to see everyone again. I don’t think I realised how much I missed some of you guys,” he admitted almost nervously.
“Yeah. Feels almost like old times, doesn’t it?” Soren replied.
“I don’t know about that. I feel like we’ve all changed a little too much.”
“Have we, though?” Soren asked, and Jamie stopped for a second or two.
“You might just have a point there, Bowers,” he said almost teasingly. “Come on, we’ll get some drinks.”

Soren and Jamie grabbed a few drinks together and got chatting about their lives since. Things had changed for both of them, but it seemed that Jamie’s life wasn’t all that different. Not really. Soren wasn’t totally sure how it happened, but Soren found his hand resting on Jamie’s thigh and found himself leaning in a little. And then Jamie jerked his knee away, startling Soren away.

“The fuck, Soren?” He asked, getting to his feet and taking a step backwards.
“I’m sorry, I-”
“Seriously? You thought I was into you?”
“I didn’t- I’m sorry-”
“Get real, Soren,” he said, turning and walking away. Soren honestly could have got his stuff and walked away after that. Just gone home and pretended it had never happened. But he hadn’t spoken to any of the others yet. And as he looked back towards Jamie, there was a flash of anger, of frustration. He wasn’t going to leave because that would have been letting him win. So instead, he downed another drink and went in search of someone to talk to.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Shane Tompson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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CAMILLA RHODES
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Outfit | Jacket | #A38E8E
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xxx You say you want a bad bitch
xxx Baby, now you have it
xxx Now you got a bad bitch
xxx Show me you can handle this

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The weeks leading up the party in New York wasn't exactly easy going for Camilla. Sophie's Valentine had just ended their Lovers in the Park album tour and had just finished moving into a new house in Chelsea when Camilla got the message from Jamie. Well it more so came from her social media rep asking if she knew of a Jamie Blackburn. He was getting most of the gang back together and was hoping if she was free if she could make it. She was all for having a party to end all parties back in New York, but wasn't entirely thrilled Beautiful Strangers would be there. It would only be for a little bit and the rest of Sophie's Valentine had been talking about heading home for awhile to relax, it's been years since they were back in the states and it would be a nice vacation.

As the days got closer to the party Camilla messaged the few people she didn't mind from high school and the party days; Shane, Nate, Erin. Just doing a small check in to see how things were doing. Her and Khepri messaged back and forth for years after the group fell apart so it was nice for them to finally meet up again, the bitches would be back in town.

The day of the party Camilla slept in as she set up everything the night before, plus she could stay up later throughout the night. When she woke up she quickly sent a message to confirm their plans for tonight, make sure things didn't change.

To Queen Pri Pri: Hey hey. My driver and I will be by your place around 930. Dress to impress girl! ♥♥♥


The drive from Camilla's hotel to Pri's place wasn't a far drive as it was on the way to the party, so Camilla didn't mind picking up her home girl. When they arrived the driver stepped out and opened the back door for Khepri and closed the door behind her. Camilla reached over and gave her a hug. "You, look, amazing Queen. It's so good to see you again. And that ring looks even more glorious in person." Camilla said, holding her hand looking at the ring. The two chit chatted a little during the drive and reminisced over the days, remembering some good times and laughing at the bad., they didn't really need to do much for catching up since they stayed in contact since Sophie's Valentine really took off.

When they arrived at the apartment the driver honked a little to get people out of the way so he could pull the car as close to the entrance as possible, then getting out and opening the door for Khepri and Camilla to get out. Camilla was use to this, being chauffeured and heads turning when she arrived to locations, she threw a small smirk over to Pri. "Never gets old you know." She said as the handed some cash to the driver and told him she would call him when she was ready for pick up. The two headed up to the door, saying their greetings to some of the people that were outside.

As Cam opened the door she heard music playing, familiar sounds she didn't exactly like. Beautiful Strangers. Luckily it seemed like they were getting towards the end of the playlist as she arrived. "Enjoy yourself Pri, I'm going to make myself known to some of the others, though they probably heard our arrival when we drove up." She said to her friend, blowing a kiss and walking through the halls, her heels clicking on the floor as she walked.

Camilla was quickly stopped by Jamie, grabbing her around the waist and handing her a cup with some sort of alcohol in it. "If it isn't the infamous Camilla Rhodes. And here I thought you were too good to show up to a little house party. Looking stunning as you do on magazine covers." Camilla smirked back at him and took the drink. "Jamie boy. I'm here for the good old times, though I don't know why he's playing since you didn't ask me." She said, tilting her head towards where Soren was singing. "Cammy, it's not personal. Just his band was in town and would be easier, plus I doubt I could afford Sophie's Valentine." "Eh, probably." She replied shrugging her shoulders Fortunately it sounded like Beautiful Strangers was wrapping up, Jamie excused himself to go talk to Soren and Camilla gave him a kiss on the cheek before she left.

It wasn't long until Cam noticed a familiar face that she was still on alright terms with, Shane. She walked up behind him and reached up to grab his snapback off the top of his head and flashed him a smile. "Oh Shane, you haven't changed a bit." She said, handing the hat back to Shane, but he just put it on her head. It clashed with her outfit, she would probably take it off before walking away, but just left it on for now, the two walked over to a couple seats and sat down.

Camilla scanned the room as her and Shane talked and rolled her eyes as she saw Soren and Jamie on the couch talking. She watched them a bit, still listening to Shane talk. She watched as Soren put his hand on Jamie's thigh and then Jamie react to it, a little confused, but entertained by the whole situation. "Hey Shane, we'll talk later. Gotta go do something real quick." Camilla said as she handed the hat back to Shane and fixed her hair as she walked over to Soren and Erin.

"Good job Soren, that worked out real well for you..." Camilla said, flipping her bangs out of her face. She tossed a small smile to Erin, who still was beautiful in her unique style. Erin seemed a little confused about what she was talking about. "Oh you didn't see what Soren did? Sort of looked like he was using her power as a singer to try to entice Jamie... physically." She said with a smirk. She did a fake gasp to his response. "Whoa, no need to throw out names like that. If someone was touching me the way you were touching him, I'd probably react the same. Plus little birdie here came to your rescue when she didn't know the whole story." Erin quickly tried to defuse the situation between the two and Cam dismissed herself. "Oh and Soren, it's not a surprise no one wants to fuck you." She said with a laugh as she walked away.

Camilla peaked around a few rooms trying to find some privacy and eventually finding a room where no one was making out and closed the door behind her. She pulled out a small capsule from her bra and poured the white powdery contents out onto the dress, using her credit card to make it into lines. Before she could finish up the door opened up and Jame walked in and froze seeing what Cam was about to do. "Fuck. God damnit Jamie, ever heard of knocking." She said after getting startled a bit. "It's my apartment, and are you really doing drugs here?" He said as he walked over to her, seeing the three lines ready to go. "Yeah, just getting a small fix and then I'll be out of your way." Camilla turned her back to her product but Jamie pulled her back. "Last time someone did drugs at one of our parties, Kyle died. But do you not remember since you weren't even here and too busy trying to get famous?" She rolled her eyes and carefully refilled her capsule. "Fuck you Jamie. Shane had nothing to do with Kyle getting shot, and reality check, I didn't try, I did." Camilla brushed past Jamie and rejoined the party.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Shane Tompson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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N a t h a n Miller
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outfit - #E19D29
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Nate hadn’t talked to most of the old group in years; whether they’d just lost contact, or refused to talk to him, or whatever. It didn’t make much of a difference, logistically. It all hurt, but Nate would be lying if he said he didn’t understand it. He’d made terrible choices, and whether that resulted in someone getting hurt, or himself being forgotten, in the end he probably earned the cold shoulder he was facing. Somehow, in some twisted part of his mind, that made it a little easier to stomach.

He had been a little surprised when Jamie sent him a message, inviting him to a party. Jamie had walked away from the group without a glance back, gone on to better things. Nate had always assumed he’d moved on and didn’t think of the rest of them as anything more than nostalgic pieces of his childhood. But apparently he missed them. Or, some of them, or maybe just the way being a part of a group made him feel. He had to work until right before the party, and as much as he wanted to see his old friends, everything had ended on such a bad note. He told Jamie he would try to come, and he left it at that. Then Camilla sent him a message, just checking in on him, and he decided that he would go.

He was going to be a little late, but when wasn’t he? He had to head back home to shower and get changed; smelling like donuts wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but it wasn’t really what he was going for. Not that he had a signature smell, or even an actual look, but nobody enjoys smelling like work at a party.

Beautiful Strangers was in full swing when he arrived. He’d always liked them okay, and he had to admit they were better than they’d been back in high school. He scanned the crowd for a moment, trying to pick out what to do, who to see. He saw that Erin was manning the bar, which felt a little awkward to him, so he decided to put off getting a drink. He probably shouldn’t drink too much, anyway; it looked like the kind of party Nate could easily ruin if he had too much to drink.

It wasn’t long before Nate heard a familiar voice from beside him, “Hey! You made it, after all.”

Nate turned to smile at Jamie, “Yeah, I made it work.” Jamie seemed happy enough to see him, and Nate wasn't sure how he felt about that. Jamie had walked away from the group so easily when things got tough in the end, so he didn't really know what to think of him anymore.

Jamie started to say something else, but his attention was quickly drawn elsewhere. He flashed an apologetic smile at Nate, “I need to go talk to somebody, but I’ll see you later.”

Nate doubted that, but he decided not to dwell on it, and just waved Jamie away. A glance in the direction of the bar told him that Erin wasn’t there, so that was his next destination. He didn’t let the bar being unmanned stop him from getting a drink, but he didn’t linger there for too long. He did some mingling, some people watching. He remembered these parties being a lot more fun. Maybe he’d just had more friends back then. “Hey, Nate,” It was Jamie again, “Can I ask you something?” Nate wasn’t sure what Jamie could possibly want from him, but he didn’t get much of a chance to think it over before Jamie went on, “How are you really doing?”

The question seemed nice enough, and Nate knew that Jamie was vaguely familiar with the fact that Nate had struggled in the not-so-distant past, but Nate couldn’t say he fully understand the purpose of the question, “Everything’s fine, I-”

“I just thought, isn’t it a little embarrassing? Seeing all your old friends succeeding, and you’re doing what? Nothing?” Nate opened his mouth to try to say something, to defend himself, but Jamie didn’t give him much of a chance, “I mean, if you’re happy, that’s what matters, but I can’t help but think about how you don’t seem to have gotten over what happened to Kyle. You just seem a little stuck.”

Nate shook his head, “No, I-”

Jamie interrupted him again, which was starting to get frustrating, “Or is that just an excuse I’m making for you?”

Nate blinked a few times, as if he thought this was some sort of dream he could wake up from, or some trick of the eye, “What?”

“I mean, let’s be honest, Nate, I know life is easier when you’re relying on everyone around you to pick up the pieces-”

This time, Nate did the interrupting, “Is that why you invited me? To make you feel better about yourself?” Nate shook his head, he was fairly sure that whatever this was, it wasn’t really about him.

Then Jamie opened his stupid mouth again, “I mean, it’s really not that hard to feel okay about myself when you’re such a lazy piece of shit.” Nate had heard those words, or some variation, for most of his life, and before he really knew what he was doing, he felt his hand connect squarely to Jamie’s smug face. Jamie held a hand to his jaw, looking more surprised than he had a right to, “What the hell?”

Nate knew immediately that he shouldn’t have done that, but he was still seeing red; so, pointing right to Jamie’s chest, he replied with, “Stay in your own fucking lane, asshole.” He could feel eyes on him, he knew people were staring. Shit. Turning to walk away only confirmed it, people were staring at him. Wonderful.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Shane Tompson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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outfit | #8B008B
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Nobody move, there's blood on the floor
And I can't find my heart
Where did it go? Did I leave it in the cold?
So please give it back, 'cause it's not yours to take
It must've fell when I lost my mind
Deep in the cut, drowning in a pain
Somebody help, 'cause I can't find my way
Nobody move, nobody move.
-"Them Changes," Thundercat
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It was the last shot before the wrap. Two years and five months of travelling, research and scheduling had led to this moment in Luba Weisz's Bushwick apartment. It was a cozy place; lots of hanging plants, sheer white walls and venetian blinds that chopped the midday sun into noir-esque shadows. Everyone, save for Emilio the DP and Scotty the sound guy, sat lazily on Luba's teal velvet couches. They'd been awake since 7 AM after all, and needed the plush comfort. Gemma easily saw herself living in this apartment, drinking morning coffee over the kitchen countertop just a few feet away from the TV area. Though it was much smaller than what she'd been accustomed, nay, confined to. She found herself existing in excessive spaces.

"My last question for you, Luba," Gemma said as she slid her index finger down the notebook page to question #5, "is this: if you could go back in time and give your teenage self advice, what would it be?"

Frizzy-haired Luba leaned back in her armchair wearing a tight yellow crop top, a black choker, and brick red lipstick: the farthest thing from proper Hasidic women's attire possible. She had escaped her sect after bearing twins at the age of nineteen, and was now one of the many subjects a part of Gemma's unorthodox documentary.

"If I could go back in time and talk to my teenage self," Luba said, repeating the question like Gemma had instructed, "I'd tell her not to keep her head down. That's what us girls were always told - 'keep your head down.' We couldn't be anything more than modest. Had to keep ourselves covered up, couldn't talk or sing too loud...I think I'd tell her 'it's your story,' y'know? There's a Hebrew saying...'Im ein ani li, mi li?' If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? You need to think for yourself. Live for yourself. It's not arrogance or selfishness. Others can try to force you how to think, but you'll burst at the seams if you keep your true identity hidden. I think I've learned how to do that now."

Luba smiled. A few seconds of peaceful silence until Gemma called 'cut,' and that was that. Emilio cheered, "That's a wrap, everyone!" and the six-man crew packed their equipment into tiny black suitcases. They were out in a matter of minutes.

"Thank you so much for doing this!" Gemma said as she hugged Luba goodbye on the brownstone steps of the woman's residency.
"Of course! Thank you for having me! Let me know when it's done. I want to see the finished product."
"Of course," Gemma traipsed down the steps, adjusted the backpack on her shoulders, then stopped on the sidewalk, remembering something.
"Hey...how do you say that phrase? The Hebrew one? It was beautiful."
Luba gave a proud grin. "Im ein ani li, mi li?"
"Im ein ani li, mi li?" Gemma recited slowly, trying to copy Luba's inflection. The words felt smooth on her tongue.
"You got it. Now you're the one repeating questions. Remember it always."
Luba winked as she strutted back to her door, "Have a good night."
"You too."

A never-ending ride on the L train later, Gemma was back in her Lower East Side townhouse trying on outfits for Jamie Blackburn's last-minute soirée. Jamie Blackburn...that was a name she never expected to hear again, let alone reunite with. She had no idea who else he invited or what kind of party he was hosting. When she asked him over text what kind of attire to wear for his get-together, all he replied was, Like it's the New Years Eve of 1999.

She had no idea how he got her new number in the first place, but was happy to see him again. Who had he grown up to be? Hopefully not a politician, like she imagined. Had he reached out to the other members of their old posse? They ruled their school back then. Some of them she felt excited to meet again, others she would have preferred to leave behind in the pages of her yearbook. But through it all, she wondered...did they still hold grudges? Perhaps Jamie's intentions for this party were good, but he had a bad habit of being more optimistic than reasonable.

Gemma settled on Doc Martens, black jeans, a cami and a sheer top, plated with little gold stars. Not too hoity toity, and not too low-key. She heard the front door creak open downstairs. Austin was home. She quickly put on some gold hoops and grabbed her purse, then bolted down the stairs.

Dinner - vegetable ratatouille - was already on the table. Gemma got used to cooking for the two of them. She didn't mind, really. Most of her film work was irregular, or from home. She had more time on her hands than her fiance did. He was already sitting at the table, talking on the phone with someone. "I clearly explained to him he couldn't cancel the day of, it's policy! Just meet that asshole later, okay?"
Gemma gave him a peck on the cheek. His beard scruff was getting scratchier. "I don't care what you gotta do, just make sure he's learned his lesson. Yeah, like last time. Call me when you get there. Bye."
"Who were you talking to?" Gemma took a seat on the opposite side of the table and shoveled forkfuls of sautéed mushrooms into her mouth.
"Friend of Dad's. Some prick decided to make a very last-minute cancellation. One of our bands was supposed to play at his house party. He already signed the contract, we paid the band's travel expenses, and he replaced them! It's a shitshow. Giovanni and his boys are surprising him tonight."
Suddenly, the mushrooms in Gemma's mouth tasted bland. She knew what kind of "surprise" this was.
"Why can't you just sue him in court? You'd earn the money back and more."
Austin made a half-chuckle, half-scoffing sound: as if to suggest what she said was childlike in reason. "Nah, this guy's practically a Kennedy. Bound to have a good lawyer. We do this tonight, he won't screw anyone else over again."
Gemma shrugged. It was no use bickering with him. What did she know about extortion, intimidation? It wasn't her world. She chewed and swallowed it from her father, Austin, and all the men in her life, and accepted it. She didn't have the power to change anything.

Austin eyed her up and down as she stabbed her fork through more vegetables. "Where you going?" he asked.
"Out," she replied.
"Where?"
"That get-together my high school friend is hosting."
"Looking like that?" his brows rose. "Must be a pretty good friend..."
Gemma dropped her utensil and glared at him, her irises sharper than the prongs of her fork. "I told you, you can come if you want! It's not a problem."
"Gem, did you hear anything I just said? I have to take a call later!"
"Take the call at the party!"
Austin wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and sighed. "You know what, I'm not arguing with you. Have fun with your high school friend. Don't come crying to me when you get pregnant."
Gemma snorted. "Like I'd cry to you about that, Lord knows you don't try with me..."
She shuddered as soon as the words came out. A part of her wondered if Austin knew that she knew. He wasn't very good at hiding things, after all. Many long seconds of painful silence passed. Austin rose from his chair and walked up to Gemma, his fingers turned to fists. She closed her eyes, bracing herself for the pain bound to come next...
Instead, he grabbed her dinner plate, and threw it right in the trash.
Austin returned to his seat and continued eating his dinner.
"Just go to your goddamn party, Gem," he grumbled.
She could feel tears welling in the back of her eyes. Without saying a word, Gemma rose, shoved her chair into the table, snatched her purse, and slammed the front door as she left.

Fortunately, Jamie's apartment was only seven blocks away from her townhouse. They'd lived near each other for years and never even knew. Thinking about it made the pit in her stomach grow. She could have reconciled with him. She could have visited him after they'd graduated college, could have had him as a friend again. Instead, she'd let someone else fill her loneliness. Someone her father had introduced her to, someone who treated her like trash. Not to say Jamie didn't have asshole-like qualities himself, but getting high with him seemed like a far better alternative to marrying Austin Di Mino. Sometimes, she couldn't believe this was her actual life. As she marched to Jamie's apartment with tears streaming down her face, Gemma vowed to herself that she would go to this party and never come back.

She arrived twenty-five minutes late. Not a faux pas, considering this was a New York City party. However, it was embarrassing thinking about the greetings she'd have to reciprocate while her face looked puffy and her mascara was most likely running. As she used one thumb to ring Jamie's apartment buzzer, she used the other to wipe under her eyes - just in case it was running. Gemma stood on the doorstep for a long while; she wondered if Jamie could even hear the buzzer, what with the rowdy company he usually kept. Before she could change her mind and walk towards the direction of Union Square, Jamie Blackburn opened his front door, catching the back of her head.

"G? Is that you?"

Gemma turned around. After so many years, Jamie Blackburn had maintained his star athlete physique. Most men changed dramatically in their 20's, but Jamie looked just the same as Gemma remembered him from school. Same sandy hair, same muscular forearms. There was just one difference between him now and the old photos she kept of him on her Facebook profile: his eyes. They looked deeper. Matured. They'd seen things, she could tell.

He cradled his lower jaw in his hand. "Hey," Gemma said, noticing his shaking fingers. "Are you okay?"
"Fine. Come on in." Well that was a gruff response. This wasn't the Jamie she talked to on the phone a week ago.
"Hey, hey, hey..." Gemma grabbed his wrist before he could stride back inside. He removed his hand from his face. His cheek burned a bright scarlet color. Ouch.
"What's going on?"
Jamie stood in silence. She knew that lost, pouty face of his. It was his "I don't need your help today, thank you," face.

"Okay. Look...I had a rough start to my evening. We're talking while I take a smoke."

He sighed, but obliged with a small nod. Gemma and Jamie leaned against the complex's stone wall as she retrieved a little yellow lighter and a Camel Cigarettes packet from her handbag. She kept all her cloves inside regular old boxes, just in case. She was paranoid like that.

"Can I have one?" Jamie asked.
"This isn't weed," she smirked.
"I don't give a fuck."

She plucked another clove from the packet and handed it over, lit it as it dangled between his perfect white teeth. He took a drag, then coughed. Gemma chuckled under her breath.
"First time?" He puckered his lips and made a face of disgust, as though he'd just sucked on a lemon.
"That's not a fucking Camel either."
"Now lick your lips," she said. He did. Jamie made a quizzical face as the clove's sweet aftertaste danced across his tongue. He gazed at Gemma.

"Jesus Christ, G," he said, "you look well. Like, you're literally glowing. Like a fucking planetarium."
"And you look like a pile of shit," she replied. It surprised her Jamie was one of the few people she could be herself around. Co-hosting parties with him made her immune to his bouts of rage, his ignorant remarks and devilish yet dangerous charm. They'd picked up right where they'd left off.

Jamie took another drag - this time able to hold it in. "This party was a big fucking mistake."
Gemma exhaled. "And why is that? I'm assuming you got that red spot by drunkenly pissing someone off? I mean, who could forget that time Kenny Hewitt slammed you into my dad's bar cart..."
Jamie smiled and rolled his eyes. "Nah, Nate socked me this time," he said. "Camilla's already powdering her nose. Erin and Shane are just being...themselves, and Quinlan threw his multi-million dollar watch at me," he retrieved it from his pants pocket and handed it over to Gemma. "Also I think Soren just groped me."

Gemma inspected the fine jewelery. It was so sleek, it felt like water in her hands. "Nah, this isn't a million dollars. My dad sells this brand. Damn expensive, though. Quinlan's got taste."

"Keep it," Jamie said, pointing his clove down to her left hand, "matches that rock of yours."

Sometimes Gemma forgot she wore an engagement ring. She looked down at her hand. The white sapphire diamond gleamed beautifully in the setting sunlight. Technically, she was a lucky girl to have received such a treasure. She could only imagine how many Wedding Day Pinterest boards it was posted to, how many bridezillas would kill for her ring. Well, they could have it - Gemma would rather throw it into the fiery depths of Mordor.

"Oh this thing?" she said, waving it in Jamie's face, "Doesn't mean shit, man."

For some reason, this made him laugh. He shook his head, and looked at her with an intensity she hadn't seen in years. "You're lucky you're not alone, 'cause you're a stone cold bitch, Gemma Donati."

Blowing smoke in her face, he threw his clove to the ground and stomped it out with his sneaker heel. "Thanks for the cig. Hit the spot and cheered me up." With a new pep in his step, he hopped up his brownstone staircase, looking back at Gemma once he reached the door. "You coming?"

"I'll be there in a few," she said. After hearing about the group members who'd shown, Gemma needed a moment or two to compose herself.

"Okay. When you're ready, just hit the buzzer below mine. He'll let you through," Jamie said. "And Gemma? Remember to smile. It's a beautiful fuckin' day."

Gemma shook her head as he dazzled her with an over-the-top grin. And with that, he disappeared. With another drag from her clove, she inspected Quinlan's watch. Curious, she fastened the beauty to her wrist. Jamie was right: it did match her ring well.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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the perfectionistx|xoutfitx|x#B76A81

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Khepri didn't even hear her personal phone going off as she was too busy chewing out whatever poor sucker was on the other end of a phone call. "No! No, listen to me Eddie, your client had his chance. I asked you, I fucking asked you at the beginning to settle. But, no, you didn't. You thought me and Chris were bluffing, that we didn't have shit. Those were your words, Eddie, not mine." Khepri's fiance was chuckling as he finished packing the last of his things with the help of her assistant, Rosie as Khepri kept talking, seemingly faster and more aggressive not even letting the man get a word in. "But, I think you forgot who I was, what I do, and who I work for. I'm not some gossip columnist at a bullshit online blog. Every speeding ticket, every accusation, every lie he's told his goddamn wife in their house, I will find out." How did she find these things out? Who cares. Not important. "And when I do find out," When she finally saw the notification on her phone, she waved to get one of their attention and pointed to it. Chris handed it to her and kissed her cheek before letting her return to her rampage. "I'm going nail him to the fucking wall. You thought you could best me at my own game but, turns out you were never even a player. Make sure to watch out for my article tomorrow at 8 p.m, when Chris and I are going to make your client look like a joke." Just like that she changed the tone in her voice as she messed with her sleeked back ponytail. "Tell Helena and the kids, we said hi." Just like that she hung up the phone, unlocking her personal phone to see what Cam had to say. "Do you always have to be so ruthless, I thought that was my job." Khepri looked at the smirk on his face before rolling her eyes. "It is your job, I'm just better at it."

Her fiance laughed sarcastically before hurling a balled-up pillowcase towards the woman in front of him whose nose was in her phone. When it hit her, she 'tsked' before throwing it back. "You're a child." Chris smiled. Her assistant, at this point, was packing up the rest of her things and cleared her throat. "Okay, that's everything. Mr. Nadar, your flight leaves in 2 hours. Miss. Mahajan, the article is good to go for tomorrow night, your schedule is cleared for day to brainstorm other stories and catch up with your friends who are coming into town." She scoffed. "Perfect. I will see you in two weeks and enjoy your time off. Enjoy the sun for me." She chuckled as she waved the redhead off before the door closed. With the click of the door, Chris looked back at her. "You really should see them." The young woman groaned as she turned her attention to the emerald dress on her bed. She didn't have much time to change until Cam picked her up and as much as she dreaded it, she promised her friends she'd go. "I'm just saying you haven't seen a lot of them since we moved, since you graduated, do they even know we're--..."

"Yes, they know. Jesus, and there's a reason I haven't seen them all together. I wasn't exactly the picture of perfection when I was younger and I really don't like being reminded of it." Not to mention that Jamie Blackburn was the devil. She adored her friends, she did. "I bet you were pretty perfect." She scoffed. "Not to mention, I'm kind of busy thinking of or finding stories aren't complete bullshit." Chris sighed deeply as he looked at Khepri. "You can sigh all you want, you get to do your job. You get to travel, you get to represent and be around the most influential people in the world, you get to be out there in the action while I'm stuck at a goddamn desk at The New York Times. It's been two months! How much longer are they going to look at like this frail little bird ready to jump off a cliff."

"I told you what we worked out, six to eight months." Khepri rolled her eyes as she zipped up the back of her dress. "Khepri, it's not that they don't think you can't do your job. It's because they want to let your body and mind heal." She threw her hands up. "I am healed!" She was being a lot more aggressive than she needed to be. But, Chris was used to it at this point as he laid on the bed. "Clearly with that attitude." He said with a sarcastic tone. She moved from behind the closet door to show her fiance the green dress on her but also held up two other dresses in her hands: a red and a black one for comparison. He shook his head and pointed towards her. "The one you're wearing, you look great in green and everyone wears red and black." She put the other two back before stepping out of the walk-in and looking for the finishing touches. "I overwork myself a little too much and no everyone thinks I'm incompetent." She said as she slid on her gold engagement bracelets from both of their parents, a tradition in Indian culture, and started to put on a necklace only for Chris to help her clip the back when she couldn't get it because of her nails.

"Pri, no one thinks you're incompetent, no one's that stupid. They just want to make sure you're okay and making sure you're actually taking care of yourself." She sighed. He turned her around and left his hands on her shoulders. "Hey, it's four more months. Finish therapy, stay on your sleep schedule, relax and then you're back to annoying the shit out of the most powerful people in the world with me in no time, okay?" Before she could answer, her phone went off again this time from the front desk of their apartment building."And that's Camilla. Look, enjoy yourself, talk to your friends, and I'll call you the second I laid in Amsterdam. Alright?" He kissed her forehead as she groaned. "Okay." He let her go and started to head for the door with his luggage in tow. "Since when do you kiss my forehead?" Before he closed the door, he looked back at Pri with a smirk. "Since I realized that's the only way to calm down my aggressive and anxious know it all of a fiancee" Before she could even say anything, he winked and let the door close behind him. She scoffed once more before taking a deep breath. Finally, she was alone. She liked Chris, she did. He was a great guy who wanted to make sure she took care of herself. But, it made it impossible to do her job surrounded by people who refused to let her go through her 'creative process' This was the longest time they were living in the same place one another since their engagement about a year and a half ago. Three months of having to manage her intake and actually sleep at a normal time.

She wasn't used to it and she hated it. She opened one of her dressers and reached towards the back for a bag of orange pills: Adderall. Go figure, making the workaholic go cold turkey and go to therapy after fainting at work didn't actually do anything. But, she was doing better. Just one to help her get through the night so she could socialize and then come back to her apartment and work. That's it. She threw the rest in the hidden pocket of her purse before heading downstairs. She smiled when the car pulled up and slipped in to bring Cami in for a hug. Out of the entire group, Camilla Rhodes was the one she was the closest two. It surprised her too but, there was just something about Cam that made Khepri love being around her not mention her being there when their group really started to fall apart. The pair talked and Khepri had to show off the rather large emerald with diamonds along the sides wedding ring on her finger. Like it or not, the Nadars did have great taste and they adored Khepri which might be the reason they decided that money was no object when it came to the newly engaged couple.

It was really nice to actually see her as opposed to just talking over the phone and when the car came to a halt. She turned her attention to the door and got out. When Cam acknowledged the driver and how nice it was, Khepri just chuckled. "Right, just don't let it get to your head or anything." Sarcasm clearly but, the pair both seemed to change when money started to come it. When they entered the party, she let Cam depart to go 'make herself known' but not before having to be her mother. "Just don't harass Soren." She was sure if the girl heard her or ignored her by choice. She knew the two of them weren't exactly friends but, it didn't stop her from liking both of them. She grabbed a drink from the bar before seeing none other than Quinlan Rothschild himself. She had seen him and Jamie talking before turning her attention to the bar. She didn't like Jamie and less she had to see him the better.

The prick already asked for a 'favor' numerous times since he found out she moved back. Give me this, give me this amount of money, get me into this party, and maybe I won't out you or let everyone know your marriage is a shame, classic. Which only made watching him get his shit rocked by Nathan all the better, she'd have to congratulate Nate later. When he cooled off because knowing the two of them, they'd start bickering the moment Khepri brought up trying to help him. So, she turned her attention back to her blonde friend and walking towards him. She whispered in his ear with a smirk. "Stop mopping, it's a party." She chuckled before sitting beside him. "Quinn, you know, you're a lot sexier and get more free drinks when you smile." She was so busy messing with Quinn, hoping he'd actually smile that she didn't even notice Gemma. Which was for the best, for everyone's sake. She didn't need a repeat of high school and right now Pri was sober. So, it definitely would not end well.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Shane Tompson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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soren bowers
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hex: #001a52xxxxxxxxxxx outfit: here
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xxxevery face along the boulevard
xxxis a dreamer just like you
xxxyou looked at death in a tarot card
xxxand you knew what you had to do
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Soren was starting to realise that more people had seen what had happened than he’d initially thought, and he had to stop himself from flushing red at that thought. But Erin was the first to reach him at least. He shrugged. “I’m fine,” he said, but shot her a look that said, “I’ll tell you more later.” He didn’t want to talk about it, not here, not in front of people. They’d all seen enough anyway.

He had to stop himself from tensing as Cam sauntered up to them, the smug look on her face telling him that she’d seen exactly what had happened and intended on rubbing it in his face and probably telling as many people as possible. And she started with telling Erin. “Rin, that wasn’t what happened. Because, and this may come as a shock to you, Camilla, but some of us aren’t manipulative bitches who use their position to get whatever the hell you want.” Perhaps if he wasn’t already feeling humiliated, perhaps if he hadn’t had quite as much to drink, he would have been calmer, might have been able to just let it roll off his back. But instead he was angry and he was humiliated and he wasn’t willing to let her away with it. “Well, at least I can say people buy my music because they like it, not because they just want to fuck me.”

Erin stepped in before either of them could say anything else they’d regret and go told Soren to get another drink and chill, telling Cam something similar. He had to almost physically bite his tongue to stop himself from responding to Camilla’s departing comment. But the look on Erin’s face and her insistent gesture towards the bar told him it wouldn’t be worth it. So he rolled his eyes and held up his hands, going back over towards the bar. He wasn’t planning on waiting for her to come back to get his drink. He needed to calm down, and that would be significantly easier to do with a glass of vodka and coke in his hand. But he needed to deal with something else first, more urgently.

He felt better almost immediately after doing it, but he also felt like he was still shaking as he made his way up to the bar, even as he desperately tried to act and seem normal. He stepped behind the bar to make his own drink, so lost in his own thoughts that he didn’t notice the two in front of him for a minute. And then he looked up and had to do a double take. “Quinn?” He asked in surprise. It had taken him a moment or two to recognise him. Soren hadn’t seen him since he’d left for college, and neither of them had really made an effort to stay in touch. But now, here he was, in the flesh, and Soren found himself grinning. “Holy shit, it’s great to see you! You look great, your hair looks amazing!” He remarked. And then he recovered and grinned at Pri. “And, of course, Miss Mahajan, you look stunning as ever. Making the rest of us look like shit by comparison,” he said. “So, Erin has temporarily had to abandon the bar and I really, really need a drink, so I’m playing bartender right now. So, how about a drink or two?” He asked with a smirk, already pouring them a shot each. “On me, of course. Got to celebrate the great Quinlan Rothschild’s return to New York, right?” He said, clinking the glasses together before draining his. It burned, but it was exactly what he needed.

They had only been talking for a few more minutes, Soren having had another shot while they spoke, when a number of things happened in quick succession. Erin practically sprinted past them, heading out of the apartment. Considering that she’d looked fine only a few minutes before, Soren could tell right away that she was seriously upset. And then a scream rang out through the room, piercing through the music and quieting everyone else. This wasn’t a playful scream. It was a scream filled with fear and with horror. And then it was joined by somebody yelling to call an ambulance, call the cops, somebody do something. And then somebody said it, and it rippled throughout the room. “Jamie’s dead.”

Soren could feel the blood drain from his face. “I need to go, I need to go check on Erin,” he said to them. He caught up to her easily and grabbed her arm, turning her around to face him. “Erin, listen to me. I need you to tell me the truth, and I don’t care how bad it is. I’ve got your back no matter what, you know that. But what the hell just happened in there?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Shane Tompson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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CAMILLA RHODES
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Outfit | #A38E8E
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xxx You say you want a bad bitch
xxx Baby, now you have it
xxx Now you got a bad bitch
xxx Show me you can handle this

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After walking away from Jamie, Camilla heard him say a few more comments towards her but she just walked away ignoring him as she searched for another room for her to do her business. Luckily she finally found a room and this time locked the door before getting started. After doing two lines she whipped her head back and took a deep breath, running her hands through her hair. She tucked the vial back into her bra, left the room, rejoining the party with an extra kick in her step.

Within minutes of reentering the main room she quickly spotted Shane and walked over to him. “Hey, sorry about walking away earlier, had to deal with someone as well as give myself a little kick.” Camilla said, quickly showing the vial to Shane and tucking it away again. "Care to dance?" Cam asked, keeping close to Shane. She could already feel the drugs started to take effect as the two dance, but she just let herself enjoy herself for the time being. It was nice not to worry about public eye too much and just enjoy herself.

As the song was coming to the end Camilla and Shane were face to face, a smile coming across her face as she was looking up at Shane. The moment was quickly gone as a commotion caught both of their attention, Camilla turning barely in time to see Jamie's fist make contact with Erin's face. Cam covered her mouth as she let out a gasp, completely shocked as she watched Erin yell at him and run off.


Camilla excused herself from Shane as she went to look for Jamie, wondering what the fuck was going on. She quickly found his bedroom and let herself. "Jamie? You in here?" She called out, but not seeing him. She looked around his room until she felt her nose running and then noticed some blood drip onto his carpet. "Fuck..." Cam mumbled to herself as she quickly went into his bathroom suite to clean up. As she used some tissue and wiping up her nose she heard someone enter the room and Jamie talking about something. I need to get cleaned up before I talk to him. She thought to herself, ignoring whatever Jamie was saying or talking about as she tried to hurry up to stop her nose from bleeding.

"Help! Someone call an ambulance!" Camilla yelled, peaking out of the door way and going back to Jamie's unmoving body. Her yelling did catch some people's attention and some others came over checking Jamie's pulse, saying he's dead. As more people came over, Camilla excused herself from the room and walked over by the window to get some fresh air, breathing heavily. She wasn't sure if she was in shock for seeing Jamie's state or if side effects from the cocaine she took earlier.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

0.25 INK





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outfit | #8B008B
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I should've known
I'd leave alone
Just goes to show
That the blood you bleed
Is just the blood you owe.
-"No Time to Die," Billie Eilish
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Ready for the party, Gemma pressed her finger to the buzzer below Jamie's and waited for a response.
"Yeah?" boomed a gruff voice over the intercom.
"Hey, Jamie Blackburn said you could buzz me in?"
"Oh yeah. Holdup..."

Before Gemma could say 'thank you,' the electrical hum of the unlocked door blared. She quickly stepped through, noticing the world's tiniest elevator in the lobby just to her left. She squeezed herself in and tapped the button to the sixth floor. The ceiling of this particular elevator was one giant mirror. Craning her neck up, Gemma fixed her poker straight hair and smoothed out the fabric of her mesh shirt. Her eye makeup already looked worn-out. The top of her forehead was a little sweaty, too. She couldn't tell if it was from nerves or the humidity outside. Perhaps she'd get a better understanding once she got to Jamie's place.

The elevator dinged.
"Oof!"
As soon as the door opened, she was knocked into the brick wall that was a young man's shoulder blade.
"Oh shit! Sorry 'bout that? You alright?" It was the same voice from the intercom.
Gemma rubbed her own shoulder and looked up. The bearded man, who wore a Wu-Tang tee and sported a buzz cut, was scratching the back of his head in anxiety. He had pale blue eyes, a little red around the edges. She could smell the weed on him.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Sorry." Gemma said.

He gave a short laugh. Maybe he thought she was being cute, maybe he was just being polite. As she sifted past him in the elevator, he leaned against the door's opening. He pointed a finger at her, and the corner of his lip tugged upwards.

"I've seen you somewhere before," he said, "you work at that piercing place in St. Marks?"
Before she could shake her head 'no', he spoke again, something dawning on him.
"Shit...you're the girl I buzzed in, right?"
"Yup."
"Sounds like it's fuckin' crazy in Jamie's place."
Gemma smiled. "He's thrown ragers since high school."
With this new information, the man's brows lifted. "Well, I haven't known Blackburn since high school, but I did get invited to this rager. Couple of us chillin' at my place, smokin' and shit. Dunno if you're that kinda girl, but if you need a place to hang and get away from the chaos...mi casa es su casa. Goin' to the bodega now, I'll be back. Number 609."
"Thanks," she said, genuinely pleased by the invite. Parties could get draining after a while.

The man moved away from the elevator door and tilted his head up as it closed.
"Name's Stuey," he said.
"Gemma. Nice to meet you."
She waved him goodbye, and he gave a small nod back. He placed his hands in his jean pockets, and Gemma was surprised to see his cheerful expression flatten just before he was out of view. What a scowl. From that face alone, she could guess why he wasn't celebrating at the other apartment. Stuey was a cordial guy, but probably not the type to play along with Jamie's pretentious tastes.

Finally, she arrived. And she noticed a few things from across the room. Soren Bowers, easy to find in any crowd, was standing behind a lavish bar. She'd probably missed his set. Hopefully he'd be playing again...his music was electrifying. Soren lifted a shot glass and clinked it against Quinlan Rothschild's. Well, nothing had changed there. Quinn looked sharp as ever, his hair now an icy blonde color that put Draco Malfoy to shame. Fitting, considering his upbringing.

And there was Khepri, standing between them. The one, the only. Gemma was most nervous to see her again. Khepri wasn't the forgiving or forgetting type, and she was respected because of that. Gemma stared more. Khepri blended in naturally with the scenery around her, like someone inside a painting. It became her. There was something about her velvet dress and poised smile...Gemma felt the need to fix her posture because of it.

She couldn't see Nathan, but she heard about him from the comments around the room...
"Can you believe that guy punched Jamie?"
"Oh my god, what a dick."
"Why the hell was he invited?"
She'd have to hear his side of the story later. If there was anything she'd learned from seven years of documentary filmmaking, it was that no story, not even well-known ones, were ever one-sided. From high school, she'd known Nathan wasn't easily prone to violence. Perhaps Jamie gave a good reason for the punch.

And then she watched a beautiful blonde woman strut over to a bald guy leaning against the nearest wall.
"Hey. You seen the lady bartender?" she asked.
The man shrugged, "I think she went to the bathroom? Saw Jamie go in after her..."

Well, that explained the elaborate bar setup; Erin was here. Not much of a surprise, considering Soren was in attendance. The two had always been tight. Gemma wondered how she was doing. Hopefully Jamie wasn't holding her hair back while she hugged a toilet in the bathroom. Of all the friends she'd made in high school, Erin was the one who crossed her mind most often. She wondered how Kyle's passing would affect her. It had affected Gemma. That night frequently replayed in nightmares. The screaming, the gunshot, the scrambling of teenaged bodies...she couldn't go into her parents' living room without holding her breath. Her own house felt like a graveyard.

Gemma stood in place for a while, unsure where to go, who to talk to. Maybe she'd grab a drink from Soren once Quinn and Khepri were gone. If only Austin had come, she'd have someone to talk to easily. He was good for that, at least. He was charming when he talked to others. She loved watching strangers' faces light up as she talked about his work, how beautiful his fiancee was. Oh, the way he said that word, fiancee, like it was the synonym of addiction. He could dance well, he could put himself together. Austin was the sexiest man alive in a suit. He made her feel like a goddess in front of others. In a way, she loved being his accessory. She loved it when he showed her off. They had so much together...

Gemma sighed. Perhaps she'd decided to abandon him too quickly. She'd let her emotions get the better of her. Maybe she could fix things. Counselling, perhaps? They were madly in love, after all. They were the power couple among their friends. It was only the last three months of their relationship that turned sour. The other four years had been a fairytale. On his best days, Austin was the life of the party. He was a good man. Maybe it was her fault. All relationships are complicated, right? She wasn't an entirely sinless creature herself.

She took her phone out of her pocket, scrolling down the contact list to 'Austin'...

And then a noise. It wasn't clear due to the party music, but Gemma thought she heard a door slam open. Whack! Gasps as people moved away, forming a hole in the center of the room. Inside that hole was Erin, on the ground. Jamie above her. The side of her face was flaring up, like his had before.
"I am tired of your abuse, Jamie. I've had enough. If you ever fucking touch me again, I will finally go to the police. I'm not scared of you anymore."
Not only did she look angry, but distraught. On the verge of tears. What the fuck was going on? Abuse? Gemma knew he wasn't drunk. No...Jamie had been close to sober when she met him outside. People just stared. Sheer quiet, save for the music. Why wasn't anyone doing anything?

"Erin, it was an accident. I swear! I didn't mean to. You have to believe me."

It was an accident.
I didn't mean to.
You have to believe me.

She couldn't believe the words that left his mouth. From Jamie's lips, they stung like poison. It was like watching a videotape. It was like a mirror, and now she could see clearly. It was an accident. I didn't mean to. Austin's words. You have to believe me. His excuses. Gemma didn't like to admit it to herself, but there was a pattern to every beating. A pattern in the pain, and a pattern to every make-up. It was now, in this moment, she was aware of the circle she'd trapped herself in. It was just like Erin's circle. The happy thoughts faded away. The bruises came back. Her blood started boiling, and something inside her woke up.

Gemma pushed through the horde of people, into the empty space. She grabbed Erin's hand and helped her up. "You okay?" she asked. But Erin couldn't hear.

"That's what you said all those other times before too. I'm done listening to your lies. I'm not your toy to continue using until you're bored and tired of it. I've put up with it enough. If you ever, ever come near me again...I swear...You'll regret it."

Erin brushed past her, heading back towards the direction of the bathroom. People were still silent. Some guests even had their phones out, recording the whole shitshow. It was Gemma and Jamie in the circle now. His eyes were starting to water, but she didn't care. Suddenly, she wasn't looking at one of her closest friends from high school. She was looking at a monster.

"G," he mumbled, practically begging, "you have to believe me."

But Gemma didn't blink. "Y'know, you really 'oughta kill yourself for that."

She didn't recoil or look away. It was what her father did whenever he was furious. The more she glared, the more Jamie seemed to crumble in place. She could hear his heart shatter. After many years, the cord of communion between them snapped. He ran off, and Gemma was left in the center of the circle. Some people clapped. Most wore eyes of disapproval.

Reality set in. She tried to ignore everyone's glares. "Erin!" Gemma cried as she chased after her old friend, who looked like she was going to pass out. Before Gemma could reach her, the bathroom door shut in her face. She knocked once. Twice. "Erin?" But she couldn't hear anything from the other side of the door. She kept her head down, avoiding partygoers' gazes. Gemma joined Soren, Quinn and Khepri by the bar, not saying anything to them. She poured herself a heavy glass of vodka, no mixers, and chugged it all down. The alcohol went straight to her brain. Despite the burn in her throat, the numbness was calming. By morning, everyone will forget this ever happened.

Time seemed to slip through Gemma's fingers. She couldn't tell if it was from the anxiety or the alcohol or both. She spent a solid ten minutes standing alone against a wall. It was all so hard to process. How long had Jamie been hurting Erin? Did Soren know? Did anyone else in the old group know? Why hadn't they said anything? The room felt less claustrophobic as people stopped staring at her like a witch to burn and got back to the party, albeit awkwardly. Gemma watched a group of college-aged girls shake their heads and leave; there'd been enough violence for the night. She saw Erin and Soren bolt through the front door soon after. Maybe this party was meant to be over as soon it started. In fact, maybe this party was never meant to happen in the first place.

Discreetly, Gemma walked over to the door and turned the knob. As soon as she could leave herself, a blood-curdling scream shot through the apartment. "Help! Someone call an ambulance!"

Was that Camilla? Yes - there she was, on the other side of the room. Her curiosity getting the better of her, Gemma jogged over to the hallway where she stood. Camilla was breathing heavily by an open window, a fire escape underneath her. Perhaps it was best to leave her be. Khepri could tend to the situation. She assumed the two were still very close.

Gemma continued down the hall, squishing herself inside a pit of panicked bystanders. She could see the light from Jamie's bedroom, but not his body. "Check his pulse!" she heard someone cry. She caught a glimpse of the carpet floor. Bright red...was that blood? The sight sobered her up. She felt her heart slip into her stomach.

"Jamie's dead," announced a voice. You could hear a pin drop.

No. This can't be happening. Slowly, the people around her began to hyperventilate. Gemma just stood in shock. This was all happening so fast. She felt a tap on her right shoulder. It was the bald guy from before. His arms were crossed, and he looked down at her with a mix of curiosity and disgust.

"Didn't you tell Jamie to kill himself?" he asked.

Several heads turned in her direction.

Oh no. Gemma felt like she was sinking into the floor. Her chest began to tighten. She didn't answer the question. Her instincts took over, and before she knew it she was on the other side of the room. She could feel peoples' eyes shooting daggers into the back of her skull. "She made him commit suicide!" someone shouted. An angry mob of voices rose in agreement. There was a camera flash. Her hands shook in trepidation as she finally reached the knob of the front door, turned it, and left everyone behind.

It was like an earthquake inside her mind. What number was it again? Her balance wavering as she strode down the hallway, Gemma opened the door to apartment 609. She saw a messy living room with a ripped-up couch, some pizza boxes on the floor, and bongs underneath an end table. There wasn't enough oxygen getting to her lungs. Her nose was filled with the smell of burnt weed and sweat.

"Who's there?" said a muffled voice from behind a door, probably inside the bedroom. A chorus of footsteps marched down the hall: four stoner guys and a girl. No Stuey in sight. Surprisingly, they didn't seem disturbed, just concerned. "Miss, are you okay?"

She tried to approach them, but her feet turned to gelatin. Gemma lost her balance and knocked her back against the hardwood floor. The sheer impact forced the last bit of air out of her lungs. Everything felt like it was slipping away. "Dude, she's fucking passing out!" she heard someone say. The last thing she felt before the black was a dozen hands trying to shake her awake.

Kyle, and now Jamie. Two friends dead because of her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Shane Tompson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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N a t h a n Miller
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outfit - #E19D29
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Almost as soon as Jamie walked away, Nate felt embarrassed, which mixed with his residual anger to create a sort of shame. He’d flown off the handle, lost his temper. It wasn’t so much his anger that bothered him, it was the judgement from others, the way they saw him. The way he saw himself, and what he felt he could easily become. You’re not like him, Nate. A part of him wanted to tell himself that Jamie had been egging him on, he should’ve known better, but he quickly cut that line of thinking short. Jamie may have made him angry, but he had no one to blame for his violence but himself, and he needed to be better than that. Maybe he would apologize to Jamie later. In the meantime, he needed a minute. There was a part of Nate that just wanted to leave and go home, but this party felt like his chance to at least try to repair a relationship or two.

Nate wasn’t sure what he expected from Erin, but he certainly didn’t expect for her to walk up and nod to him, as if she approved of what he’d done. It didn’t take long for everyone to go back to the party, and Nate went to search out a glass of water. He took a few minutes to compose himself before heading back into the party, and the first thing he saw was Jamie making a beeline for the bathroom. Nate found himself cringing internally at the mark on Jamie’s face; that was going to leave a bruise. It looked like it hurt, and Nate once again began to debate the merits of leaving the party and never again talking about what happened, but instead he decided to try to talk to Jamie first. At least try to smooth things over before he left. He didn’t need to lose more friends over his stupid lack of impulse control, so he’d wait on Jamie.

But Erin walked in behind Jamie, and the door closed behind them soon afterwards. He rolled his eyes, pulled out his phone to check the time, and looked around the room, trying to find someone to talk to, or something to do. He wandered a short way away, but his attention was drawn back when he heard a door slam behind him. He turned to see Erin rushing out the door, Jamie close behind her. Something wasn’t right.

Nate’s stomach was in knots the minute Erin and Jamie rushed into the room, and everyone around could see that this wasn’t going to end well. Nate felt a pair of eyes on him, as if silently urging him to do something. He didn’t know what anyone expected him to do, and briefly forgot that he’d even hit Jamie in the first place. He felt about two feet shorter than he was, in that moment. He’d always said he would react a certain way if he ever encountered a situation like this, but instead it had him feeling like a scared little kid. Something inside him half expected Jamie to flip a switch, turn his anger on Nate instead. That’s what had always happened when he was a kid. Instead, Jamie’s hand came down on Erin’s face, and he heard the gasps, the whispers around them. Then Gemma was speaking up, and before Nate knew it, Jamie and Erin went off into separate rooms, and the small crowd around them had dispersed. Nate felt, for a moment, like he was going to cry.

He should leave, now. That was the smart thing to do. After all, what more could he do?

He didn’t go far before he felt like he needed to sit down. He’d thought he’d known what kind of person Jamie was, but he was wrong. He quickly found himself adding Jamie in with his father in his mind. I hope you die alone, in pain, and miserable for every moment of your pathetic life. It didn’t make him feel any better, but he did begin to feel less like a scared little kid, and more like a grown man. He wanted to check on Erin, or Gemma, or… He didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he needed to know that they were okay before he left. Or that they were going to be okay. Then he heard someone yell.

He didn’t immediately head towards the source of the yelling, but when he realized that the yelling was someone calling for an ambulance, he got up and headed in that direction, just to try to get a look and see what was going on. It was chaos, understandably. He didn’t quite make it to the room, having been distracted by Camilla hyperventilating by an open window. He walked over, thought about putting a hand on her shoulder, then decided against it. “Hey, Cam,” He didn’t know what to say, he was no good in difficult situations. He looked around, as if to find someone who could handle this better than he could, but most everyone was focused on Jamie, and the fact that he was dead.

There was a small commotion, and then Gemma was running past, and Nate really didn’t know what to do then. Without another word, he left Camilla and went back into the main room, looking around aimlessly. The last time he’d been at a party when someone died, he’d been well on his way home at this point. He really and truly didn’t know what to do.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Gemma Donati Character Portrait: Shane Tompson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Quinlan Rothschild Character Portrait: Jamie Blackburn

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soren bowers
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hex: #001a52xxxxxxxxxxx outfit: here
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xxxevery face along the boulevard
xxxis a dreamer just like you
xxxyou looked at death in a tarot card
xxxand you knew what you had to do
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The minute the tears started flowing down Erin’s face, he knew things were bad. She didn’t cry easily, and he could tell things were really bad. At first, he thought that maybe she’d just heard about Jamie and was upset. And then she told him what had actually happened, and he just had to exhale slowly to try and keep himself calm. One of them needed to keep it together, and him getting angry wouldn’t do either of them any favours. “Of course I believe you, Rin,” he said, pulling her into the tightest hug he could muster, holding it for a few seconds. But he exhaled heavily as she said she just wanted to go home.

“I know, Rin, I know. But… we can’t really go right now. We need to talk to the cops. If we leave now, there’ll just be even more questions. We go in, we tell them what happened, and then we can go home. We’ll get in and out as quickly as possible, and then we’ll go home and get drunk or go find some swings or something. Come on,” he said, linking his arm through hers and gently guiding her back into the apartment.

Inside, everything felt as chaotic as when they’d left, if not even moreso. People seemed to be reeling from what had just happened. And as Soren made his way in, he could feel eyes on him and Erin. People seemed to glance away when he met their eyes, but he could hear the whispers.

They left kinda quickly, didn’t they?
I bet one’s covering up for the other.
Did you see him and Jamie earlier?


Soren could feel the panic building in his chest, but he needed to stay calm. Erin had put up with enough of his bullshit for this long, he couldn’t break down on her now. He gently sat her down. “You want a drink or anything?” He asked, before the arrival of a group of new bodies temporarily distracted everyone. The cops had arrived.

It didn’t take long for them to start interviewing people. Unsurprisingly, they split Soren and Erin up. The cop that pulled Soren aside had a hard expression and a set jaw, but there was a softness in his mannerisms that seemed to suggest that he wasn’t as harsh as he seemed.

“How did you know Jamie Blackburn?” He asked. Soren sighed, running a hand through his hair.
“We were friends. We hadn’t spoken for a few years but we were on good terms, and he invited my band to play the party tonight.”
“When did you last see him?”
“We had a… conversation about 11, I think? Then I had… to go to the bathroom. Haven’t seen him since.”
“Can you think of any reason anyone would have wanted to hurt Jamie?”
“No, he was… He used to be a pretty nice guy. I think he had a few disagreements with people tonight, but it was all… trivial stuff. Too many big personalities and too much alcohol, right?”
“Did you have any disagreements with him?”
“I… I don’t…” Soren took a deep breath. He needed to keep it together. “I misunderstood the signals I was getting, and I made… a move on him. He… did not respond well to it, yelled at me, and left.”
“That must have been embarrassing.”
“I mean. Yeah, it was. But that was all. I was embarrassed, and I went to the bathroom to calm down and freshen up a little bit. And then I came back and got some drinks and caught up with a few old friends. I didn't see Jamie after that.”
“Thanks, Soren. We’ll be in touch just to ask you a few more questions at a later stage.”

Soren exhaled as the cop walked away. The cop had been entirely unreadable, so Soren had no idea if the cop had believed him or not. This was all starting to feel a little too like the night Kyle had died, and that was a night Soren had never wanted to revisit. He shot a glance over at Erin to see how she was doing, not wanting to approach until the cops were done with her.