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Poppy Clarke

"I thought that my purpose was to see the beauty in everything...but I don't see the beauty in this."

0 · 901 views · located in Pennsylvania

a character in “Bellingstone”, as played by chanelindistress

Description

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"“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”"
~ Sarah Williams, Twilight Hours: A Legacy of Verse




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FULL NAME
"My Dad...he was from Jamaica and he said he didn't really see poppies until he came to the United States. So, when they were naming me, that was what he asked my mom to call me."
Poppy Dominique Clarke

NICKNAMES
Pops and Pop-Rock {Most common; pretty much everyone} || Tiny {Common; mostly by family and very close friends since she has always been the short one}

DATE OF BIRTH
November 6, 1991

AGE
26

OCCUPATION
"If you value your life, do not listen to my brother. This wasn't a geek career...okay, maybe it was, but this geek is doing a pretty damn good job with her career and being loan-free, thank you very much. I was always interested in art, whether they be studio or performing. It just so happened that my skill set and interest lay solely with the former, which is why I went into art conservation, specifically restoration. I work primarily with paintings and try to bring them back to their former glory for a good number of exhibits and the like. So, yeah, maybe I'm a nerd. But this nerd loves her job."
Art Conservator at the Carnegie Museum of Art, though she does partake in freelance art on the side

GENDER
Female

SEXUALITY
Demisexual || Biromantic

DIALOGUE XCOLOR
#E8ADAA





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PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
As much as she hates the nickname, there is no denying that it is quite fitting because, in comparison to the rest of her family, Poppy is - in fact - tiny. Weighing at about one-hundred and ten pounds with a height of five feet and two inches, Poppy's diminutive stature does not at all detract from the curvy yet slim figure she possesses, nor does she allow you - despite how her light olive skin is somewhat paler than her father's - to forget her Jamaican, Nigerian, and English blood. While she wouldn't necessarily call herself some great beauty, with her naturally curly and very thick dark hair, big, almond-shaped hazel eyes that appear to be gray in some lights and then more green in others, plump lips, and high cheekbones - there is no denying that she is quite a looker.

PERSONALITY
Though typically considered the good girl all of her life, Poppy is like a live wire. She always seems to be filled with limitless energy and is almost always up for a bit of an adventure, despite being the main one ready to chill out with a movie marathon. Despite the fact that she is more frequently known for having harmless fun, there is a bit of a wild side to Pops that likes to make its presence known. She surprises even herself with wanting to go to a club, especially if she's found an underground one. She's not afraid to try most things once, though some things require a bit more coaxing from the right people, and she's usually up for going somewhere new and/or exciting. During her formative years, a big chunk of this side of her was hidden behind the studious and quietly intelligent yet sassy girl with glasses. But as the years have gone by, and she's had to flourish into a much mature business woman, Pops has also flourished into a woman who's more comfortable with her physical features and who likes to "let down her hair" and live a little in light of the professional world she's had to acclimate to. Some things have remained the same, however, in that Poppy still is the girl who will babble when nervous, even going so far as to make sexual innuendos without actually meaning to. While she is not the type to befriend everyone she sees, she's also not unapproachable and she typically remains relatable to the extent that Poppy has an assortment of associates from varying social classes. Despite having a pretty wealthy upbringing, Pops managed to stay a bit humble and that humility can have a magnetic allure. It's if you can stay in her presence that makes all the difference. Despite all the charisma and easy-going appeal she seems to exude and the easy way in which she can talk with people - even when she does not like them - Poppy isn't what you could call easy. You can't win her over with cheap tricks, coquettish smiles, or pick-up lines. That doesn't impress her and she makes sure that you know that. In fact, instead of having a plethora of best friends like her vivacious antics would fool you into believing, Poppy has a very, very tight knit circle of friends that not many can find their way in. She knows the difference between associates and friends, after all. Anyone who she finds a threat or simply unworthy of her friendship and that of her own beloved people get an upfront rejection. She doesn't filter herself and she doesn't like putting on airs. It's a waste of time and you should just be aware - she doesn't like you and Poppy isn't, in her own words, "pussy-footing" around it. For all of her nice girl sensibilities, Poppy can be quite blunt when she wants to be.

Poppy is self-sufficient, and goes after what she wants with will power and determination. She has a fiercely independent streak and likes to chart her own course. On one end, this calls to a bit of a vindictive and almost childish side of herself. She likes to see herself as someone who is indomitable. She doesn't just surrender to people easily. Especially those who feel like they control her or should dominate her. After being a bit more submissive and meek during her formative years, Pops has developed a much firmer back bone and is not the type to allow people to tell her what to do, which can oftentimes lead to a stubborn fixation on doing exactly what someone doesn't want her to do. Most of the times, that person is typically her brother, who can bring out a bit of a rebelliousness from Poppy. In that same light, it just goes to show that there is a side of her that is, again, willing to take on something new, even if it's just to be daring because someone has underestimated her or thought she wouldn't be bold. Poppy is actually a lot more impulsive than she likes admitting, though her impulsiveness reveals itself through the physical, or her actions. With that being said, especially when she feels insulted or someone has managed to piss her off, despite how much she does like having a much more controlled disposition when in the public eye, Poppy has maintained a reputation for not being afraid to, as she put it, "hit a bitch." She's a firm believer in slaps saving lives, though she's not afraid of using a fist if needed. She feels embarrassed afterwards for the primal satisfaction of causing someone physical pain due to their affront to her person, but there's no mistaking that under most circumstances, she wouldn't necessarily regret having to do it again.

On the other end, it means that Poppy isn't the type to accept help from anyone, not even her parents. When she's sick, she hates the idea of someone having to take care of her. When she's struggling with a project that she's taking the lead on, she hates others offering help or solutions. It bothers her. Why? Because despite what this competitive little minx will tell you, she hates the idea of vulnerability. Of needing someone - anyone. It is something she tries to fight vehemently, oftentimes allowing her stubborn side to show through simply because she is unwilling to hear someone else's side. It is also why the close friends she does have and her family are known for being headstrong as well, having to ignore her pleas for independence when it becomes a hindrance for her well-being. Because of this consistent show of loyalty in the family and friends that she does have now, Poppy has a deep disdain for anyone would lie to her. She hates not knowing things or being the last to know something. It means she failed at something. It also signifies a fear of there having to be a truth because if there is anything she fears more, it is change and that truth can change everything. It clashes with her upfront nature, but it speaks to her biggest flaw: Poppy hates change. Oh, she's willing to tell everyone else that change or something new could be good for them. However, when it comes to herself - and she's acknowledged this hypocritical nature of hers - Poppy absolutely hates it. Because she cannot control change and as another child in the Clarke family household, not having control is just not in the cards.

LIKES
Nature - As much as she seems a bit acclimated to city life now that she travels into the city more, Poppy is still the girl who loved taking long walks or morning jogs into the forest that surrounds Bellingstone. She feels at home there, even going so far as to have plants in her apartment.
Cooking - While her family were wealthy enough to have cooks, there was nothing like her father taking the time to cook some of his island recipes, which Poppy would eventually pick up, along with a love of just making food in general.
Art - She's always enjoyed it, whether she was observing or painting. Art has always been the most calming.
The smell of rain - enough said there.
Wine - If there is one drink she'll have daily other than her tea, it is definitely a glass of red wine. She likes all wine, but red - particularly a sweet red blend or pinot noir - are her favorite.

DISLIKES
Being underestimated - Poppy gets it; she's the smaller sibling, not the strongest, and all that other stuff. But what she hates most is for anyone to think she's not capable because she is.
Being lied to - She's not always the greatest liar unless she really needs to be because Poppy is a relatively honest individual, which means she hates when people aren't honest with her.
Feeling weak and like she needs people
Wearing shoes at home - Once she's in the comfort of her family's place or her own, all bets are off and so are shoes. How else is she going to comfortably read a book and drink a glass of wine, people??
Spiders - You can tell Poppy all you want about how they help with other bugs. That won't stop her from jumping out of her skin at the sight of one.

FEARS
☠ Drowning, even though she does know how to swim.
☠ Dying alone
☠ Dark, enclosed spaces





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BIOGRAPHY
By the time Poppy was born, the Clarke family had been living in Bellingstone for four years and her father was just really considering the idea of competing in the mayoral race. At the time, he just liked having the position of Finance Director and being with his family. Jethro's own father had inherited a large sum of money from his own Jamaica-born father, and upon his death, Jethro and two siblings had split the money three ways and left it like that. Poppy never really paid attention to the specifics of that; all she knew was that she loved leaving Bellingstone during the holidays or when her aunt Chinyere came because that meant Jamaican recipes for Thanksgiving meals. It was rare that her father had the time to make dinner for them, let alone share the recipes that he had inherited. Nevertheless, Poppy was born in Bellingstone to an older brother, her mother and father. As a child who had been born prematurely, Poppy remembers that a lot of her time when she was smaller had been spent being relatively sick. She had spent two weeks in the incubator after being born because she was two months early. By the time she got to elementary school, she had classmates picking on her because she was so weak, tiny when in comparison to the rest of them and always tired - not to mention a bit of a teacher's pet - and there were rarely weeks when Poppy didn't pass out. Being short hadn't really been an issue for Poppy because on both sides of her family, there were just short people and there were tall. In fact, her mother - from whom her brother gets his height - was actually taller than her father, much to Jethro's chagrin. However, come to find out, the reason Poppy wasn't getting her height and was so weak wasn't just because she was simply a premature child; she had the endocrine disorder, growth hormone deficiency. Needless to say, Poppy spent a good portion of her childhood not exactly at her best.

During those years, though, was when her love for art had developed. Her mother, Fatima, had been an art teacher at both the elementary school and high school for Bellingstone, and she would spend extra time at home with Poppy, cultivating her love for painting and drawing in various mediums such as acrylic and oil paintings, water color, black ink pens, and charcoal. It was this that made her feel strong - that made her want to be stronger. The friends she had made helped, too, since she did want to be able to go out into the forest and play with them. However, her mother also would grow to be sick. Her mother had had breast cancer when Poppy was small, a little bit after breast feeding was done, but because everyone made her so worried about her own health, Poppy hadn't noticed. Her mother hadn't lost a considerable amount of hair and if she had, she had tricked Poppy with wigs. And she survived it. But then it came back, when Poppy was thirteen - this time, more aggressively. It would be within the next year that Fatima would die, and if Poppy had been close to her parents before, she was even closer to her father upon her mother's death. There were hardly pictures anyone saw of the Bellingstone mayor that did not include his two children, particularly his daughter. She would be in charge of his programs with the children, quick to make sure he was doing community service related activities with the townsfolk, and it damn near broke her heart to actually stay in the city to attend The Art Institute. But she visited at every break that she could and Poppy owed it to her father's connections for even getting her her current job. Which is why she's heartbroken over his death now. And suspicious.

MISCELLANEOUS
Apartment - Although Poppy can still live in her family's home, she rents out an apartment in the thick of Bellingstone square, and it sits atop a more modern coffee shop for all the snotty townspeople who started thinking they were too good to drink coffee at the diner.


So begins...

Poppy Clarke's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Junsoo Moon Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Andre Clarke
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_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Poppy Clarke Apartment
Dialogue Color ✦ #E8ADAA
Thought Color ✧ #985D5A




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_____ T H EXP R O T E C T O R _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Poppy Clarke Apartment
Dialogue Color ✦ #DEB887
Thought Color ✧ #8E6837



"Please tell me that you didn't know that Albrecht Wolff was back in town and campaigning for mayor," Poppy demanded as she rushed through the front door of her apartment. The delicious notes of buttermilk, freshly baked cake, butter, and sweet maple syrup wafted in the air as she closed the door behind her, but Poppy didn't linger. She threw her keys and Samsung on the chair near the front door and marched to the opening of the kitchen; her brother hadn't even turned around from flipping from the last pancake off the griddle. "Dre," she called evenly, knowing that he had heard her when she first came in. He was fully dressed now, probably ready to go to Escape since Oscar was apparently not going to be there. On her run through the town and a small path to the woods, she had stopped through Escape to open it up for Andre and unlock it for one of the cooks who had forgotten their keys. Her brother would have to man the place for the day without the assistance of his business partner. "It's not in good taste."

"It's been two weeks, Pops," he replied sagely, sleeves rolled up to his elbows as he took the dirty bowl and placed it in the sink to wash it in the soapy dishwater he had prepared. "We're allowed to still be in mourning. Not an entire town. What's not in good taste is a town going another week without a leader." It wasn't to say that Andre was particularly happy about the upcoming election. He had been warned the day before his father's funeral that candidates would be up and about. They would be the first ones to pay their condolences, which was how he had come to the knowledge that Albrecht Wolff had returned to town. The man hadn't come to him nor had he made his presence known to Poppy, but Andre had spotted him at his family's home after the funeral wishing his aunt condolences before slinking out as if he had never come in the first place. But as soon as the pleasantries had to be over, the wannabe politicians of the town would come out of their corners, hungry gazes fixed on his father's position and the power and influence that came with it. One of those candidates happened to be his own business partner, Oscar, and Andre didn't think little of him. But, much like Poppy, Andre knew he was sensitive to the lingering grief that came after his father's death. It just so happened that he was a lot better at compartmentalizing it. He didn't have to glance at her to note the twisted expression on his sister's sweaty face. "But Albrecht Wolff left years ago? Shouldn't he at least have...another year of being back before trying to campaign for anything?" Andre tossed her a look. "Let it alone, Pops, and come eat your food. I made pancakes and bacon and the water for your tea is almost done." As if summoned by a mere mention, the old-fashioned teakettle her aunt had bought her upon Poppy moving out whistled, the shrill sound startling her enough to hurry into her kitchen to take it off the stove eye and turn said eye off. "I'm not hungry," she grumbled, but definitely reached into one of the cabinets to get a large mug and retrieved a tea bag from her box of Yorkshire Gold tea.

Andre, however, was not having her petulance. He wiped his hands free of soap and water, scooped up the plate that had both three fluffy pancakes and three slices of thick-cut bacon, grabbed the bottle of fresh maple syrup from the market, and set them both beside her elbow as she steeped her tea. "Don't be a brat," he told her and kissed the top of her head. Poppy scrunched her nose up, feigning disgust from the affection. It only made a whisper of a smirk appear on Andre's face before he pulled away and fixed her with a sharp look. Despite being much healthier than her formative years and being quite capable of taking care of herself, Andre was never going to not care for his little (and only) sister and Poppy still ignored her body's desire to eat on occasion. "I mean it, eat. And don't worry about the Wolffs, alright? Neither of them are your concern anymore and neither is this race." His father's death still stung and it was something that still was going to make Andre worthy; the timing was off and there was no way in hell Andre could wrap his head around his father just dying out of nowhere. And it was pretty convenient for it to be the mayor of all people and now suddenly so many different people, not just the two he knew a little bit better, wanting the newly open position. But neither he nor Poppy were allowed to worry about the mayoral campaign or who was going to sit in their father's chair next anymore. That was the simple truth of the matter, regardless of whether or not Poppy wanted that to be the case.

"I'm gonna be at Escape all day since Oscar's not. Check with Auntie Chinny. She's staying at the house for another week. Take her to get her nails done or something, get her out the house," Andre instructed as he headed towards the front door and Poppy followed with her mug, having already added her milk and sugar. She rolled her eyes at him. "Pretty sure we both can find a way to entertain ourselves without your input, Dad," she replied dryly, and then winced. It was still too early for one of their most common and harmless jokes. Andre's face didn't betray the twinge of hurt that crawled up his spine. "And don't forget to eat and don't worry about the - " Poppy didn't want to hear anymore of it. "I get it, I get it. Don't worry about blah, blah, blah. Get out already," she exclaimed, pushing him out impatiently and closing the door, behind her, leaning her forehead against the hard wood for a moment longer than normal. Sighing, she turned around and glanced at the chair she had thrown her things onto, eyeing her phone for a moment. A small part of her longed to pick up the device and call Axel, even if she didn't know if he had ever actually changed his number. But just as she truly considered it, another sigh drifted past her plump lips and Poppy clenched her fist, turning away from it and returning to the kitchen. Even she couldn't resist the allure of pancakes. They were her favorite breakfast food, after all.

It didn't take Andre long to get to Escape considering the fact that it was practically on the other corner opposite, of Poppy's apartment, and he immediately headed towards the bar, offering both waves and a few exchanges of pleasantries and head nods before getting there. He allowed his gaze to rove over the bustling room before fully acknowledging Junsoo, a ghost of a smile pulling at the right corner of his mouth. "Hey, been handling everything alright today?" It was early, but the time of day didn't stop people from acting out. Especially when they were allowed alcohol.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke
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_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Poppy Clarke Apartment to Bellingstone Streets
Dialogue Color ✦ #E8ADAA
Thought Color ✧ #985D5A



Leaving her teeth to pretty much be the only things keeping her scarf from hitting the floor, Poppy used both hands to tie her hair back and put on the headscarf she needed to finish the wash-and-go style she needed for the day. Saturdays were typically scheduled for her hair, considering the fact that she didn't go to many salons. Not even the one in Bellingstone, despite it being the only one she was pretty familiar with and knew that they were familiar with the texture of her hair. Poppy just felt more comfortable with taking care of it herself. When she made the time for it, that is. With the election at the forefront of her mind when her father's cause of death wasn't a set in stone thing yet, Poppy couldn't relax enough to care for a self-care day like she normally would want. Which was why, while eating, she had figured that she could at least deal with getting a few errands done. She needed a light grocery shopping on her schedule for dinner since what was in the house needed some extra seasonings and accompaniments before she could honestly say she was going to eat another meal for the day. So, once her plate and mug were in the sink, she had set to getting in the shower and washing her hair, recounting that she hadn't washed it in at least two weeks and she wanted to get the sweat off of herself. Once those tasks were done, along with the rest of her typical morning bathing routine, she was tying the dense curly mass at the top of her head, grabbing her keys and a light leather jacket along with her purse and phone, and was out the door.

It was probably just Poppy's luck that she was too busy trying to make sure her keys were in a reachable location within her purse while rearranging her scarf and navigating with her phone pressed between her left ear and shoulder. She was a decent multitasking woman during the week, especially when her job required it of her. Poppy wouldn't lie and state that she was the most graceful being on the planet, but she definitely had some level of tact that was appropriate for both her background and life in general. Though, that didn't seem to be the case as she was coming down the steps from the side of the now open cafe that led up to her apartment because, while trying to converse with her aunt and not deal with the woman delving into her Jamaican Patois because she didn't feel like Poppy ate enough, she bumped into a solid form. It took all of her strength and concentration, but she managed to not fall flat on her ass nor twist an ankle while trying to not knock the other person over. She probably couldn't, considering it was Albrecht Wolff and there was no way in hell her tiny self was going to be capable of such a feat. But it was most definitely not the way Poppy had intended on making their first interaction.

"Fuck," she hissed, almost dropping her bag. Her eyes had flitted up briefly at the once jogging man's face, but Poppy hadn't really seen him until she had lowered her gaze before the realization had struck her. "A-Albrecht? Wolff?" Poppy almost stared dumbly at the much taller person before hearing her aunt yammer in confusion. "Ummm, auntie give me a minute. I'll call you right back," she insisted, eyes never leaving Albrecht now that she wholly recognized that it was really him. A second later and her call was ended, leaving Poppy and Albrecht in a state of silence that lasted much longer than Poppy intended. It didn't take much longer, though, for her to remember her manners. "Oh shit, I am so sorry for that. I'm such a damn klutz...and you're...you're...here." Swifly, Poppy noted the almost unhappy note to her own voice, scrambling to add and speaking quickly, "Not that there's a problem with that, not at all. I'm happy. I'm happy for you. Everyone's probably happy for you. Pretty sure everyone's probably super excited to see you out and about because it's been so long since you ran away. I mean, left...you...left...and now...you're back. And that's great, really. And I'm...God, I'm horrible. I apparently can't...words right now...how are you?" Poppy honestly could just shoot herself. Again, not the way she wanted this to go down.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Junsoo Moon Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn
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”…all she can see is a sea of stars in front of her. Just an eerie sort of blackness, you know? And there’s a faint music swirling up from somewhere in the depths of it all, along with some amorphous blobs she can’t quite make out. And that’s how chapter eight will end. Is that alright?”

This morning in Bellingstone found Ellis pacing the floors of his kitchen, bare feet plodding a repetitious path over the linoleum. He had a tendency to walk when he spoke on the phone, too anxious as a person and too enthusiastic about what he was saying to even consider standing still.

He was speaking into his old cellphone, one so ancient in the fast terms of modern technology that it probably predated even the dated flip phone, his tone soft and tired but lined with sparks of excitement. In his other hand he held a cup of iced tea, sickeningly sweet in a way that only a true Southerner could stand to enjoy, which he gestured with enthusiastically and sporadically.

“I don’t know, Ellis. Is it alright?” the voice on the other end of the line hummed almost instantly, more teasing than critical. “Isn’t that a bit too weird? Will people really like that?”

“Weird?” Ellis sounded wounded, despite the tone. The tea in his glass sloshed around as he slumped against his refrigerator. It was a bit dramatic as far as gestures go, but it's not like anyone was there to judge him for it. “Really? I… Well, I thought it was a bit weird, sure, but maybe… God, Mary, if I cut that part, I’m going to have to change the book’s ending, and-”

Thick, warm laughter erupted from his phone, and his pitiful frown turned into a scowl. Oh, right. He'd forgotten who he was speaking to. When having a conversation with Mary Carter, you had to understand that there was always a target on your back for her teasing, sharp words.

“Oh, ha, ha, Mary. Laugh it up. Gonna give me a heart attack one of these days.”

“Oh, don’t be like that. You know better than to say things like ‘is that alright’ to me, like you’re not a published author. Stop pretending you're not brilliant, idiot,” Mary replied fondly. Ellis wasn't quite sure how she came under the impression that he wasn't a hapless idiot because, in all reality, he was. He was a self-conscious weirdo about everything he did. Honestly, sometimes he was anxious about his own breathing, wondering if it was too loud in public or over the phone. Take that general anxiety and multiply it by about hundred, and you were left with how he felt about his own writing. He was still waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the world to figure out that he was a hack. There was no other way to explain his good luck and success other than as a cruel practical joke by some deity (with his luck it was probably one of the asshole gods too, like Loki or Hera).

"You've made some good progress though, Ellis. Especially after everything." Her tone dropped down, suddenly worried and sympathetic. "How are you really feeling Ellis? Is there anything I can do for you?"

How was Ellis feeling? Confused, conflicted, angry, sad, desperate, tired... A whole menagerie of unpleasant emotions on top of the dull ache and occasional sharp sting that knitted itself through his shoulder and back at the most inopportune moments. But he couldn't say that, couldn't get into anything even nearing the truth. He'd fed Mary and anyone else who asked a story about a wildcat attack, and they believed it well enough. Why wouldn't they? Bizarre things tended to follow Ellis like a plague. It was no more difficult to believe than the time he'd gotten trapped in a wall trying to get a squirrel out of his house or when a lamb had tried to pick a fight with him.

That a mountain lion had been near a small town and eager to harass Ellis was easier to believe than the reality, anyways, although it had been all he could do to keep Mary and his parents from taking Bellingstone by storm to drag off their wayward writer. He couldn't see any of them right now, no matter how desperate he was for some familiar company. Everything was still too new, and it was all he could do to adjust on his own without the pressure of over-doting friends and family. It honestly made him uncomfortable when people worried about him too much. It wasn't that he didn't understand the desire because he worried about himself all of the time. It was just a bit unsettling that people actually cared enough.

"You could let me take a break to work on my chapter on kelpies," Ellis said, trying to force his tired voice into something light-hearted. No need to make Mary even more worried than she was. "In fact, the book that I've been trying to find- you know, The Water People? The one that's been out of print since 1850? Bellingstone's library actually has a copy. God knows how, but they do. I'll be stopping by later today to take a look at it." Or maybe it wasn't too terribly amazing. That they had a copy of an old book was hardly the most surprising thing about a library run by a vampire and what Ellis had been reliably told was a witch-thing (not that he'd ever call her that. He was far from hip to the lingo of the magical world).

"You're going out? On your own? Are you sure you're feeling alright?" Mary laughed.

"Honestly, Mary. I can be social if I want. In fact, if you must know, I may be seeing some acquaintances of mine later," Ellis said loftily. He knew he was laying it on a bit thick, but Mary seemed far too amused by the idea of him willingly socializing to go back to her concerned questions.

"Is it the dishy diner guy? Please tell me it's the dishy diner guy."

Ellis rolled his eyes. "I said Axel was handsome once, Mary. Once. When I was drugged out on painkillers and God knows what else. Besides, the man's got half the town running after his tail-" he snorted a little at his own secret pun, "and he's not exactly my type."

"And what is your type, then?" asked Mary.

"Well, someone I'm certain isn't completely straight, for one." The two burst into laughter, finally back to a more companionable conversation. Smooth, Ellis. He deserved an award for that crafty misdirection. He couldn't tell her his other objections, anyways. It's a bit difficult to explain dynamics like Alpha Wolves and Pack Leaders when one can't even bring up the whole werewolf thing.

"But, no. I was... Actually considering popping in to see Junsoo- the one who stuck around to help me when I first got hurt- at work. He, uh, said I had an open invitation, and I don't want to disappoint him. And then, ah, maybe texting the girl I met in the classics section. Poppy? I know we've only known each other for a few weeks, but after everything that's happening around here, I guess... Well, I mean to say-"

"That's sweet that you're worried about her. I'm sure she'd appreciate you checking in, even if it's just a text." Ellis could practically feel her approval over the phone.

"You don't think it would be too weird? Like I'm sticking my nose into someone else's business?" asked Ellis, biting his bottom lip. He wasn't exactly the best at socializing, but Poppy had been one of the few people outside of the Pack who'd bothered speaking with him so far, even with everything that had happened to her recently.

"Sweetie, if anyone thought that, you'd be better off not being friends with them anyways."

There was a moment of contented silence before Ellis heard a knocking on Mary's side of the phone followed by a muffled conversation.

"Oh, sorry, Ellis," Mary said after a moment. "Pete's summoning me for brunch. He sends his love, by the way."

"Sure he does." Despite the sarcasm dripping from his words, Ellis was sure Pete- practical, sweet Pete who kept both with wife Mary and adopted problem-friend Ellis in check when their combined idiosyncrasies threatened to burn the world around them- had actually said that verbatim. He was just that kind of guy. "And tell him I send mine."

"Will do. Enjoy your day of nerdlyness and socializing, you dork."

"Enjoy your brunch, you basic white girl."

Ellis hung up first, fighting back a yawn. He hadn't slept much last night, too busy trying to play catch-up on his books to even consider taking a break to sleep. It was a bit ironic, honestly, that he'd come to Bellingstone for a bit of peace and quiet while he wrote and had wound up spending most of his time licking his own wounds (metaphorically, of course. Well, at least in his human form) and trying to even vaguely comprehend the reality that many of the people around him, including himself, weren't quite human. Or human at all, in some cases.

His eyes darted over to the clock above his kitchen table, and a dull sort of anxiety settled in his stomach. Should he leave the house today? He didn't have to, technically. He had enough food to survive another day holed away in his home, and it wasn't like his library book was going to go anywhere. Plus, he'd never actually told Junsoo (always Junsoo to Ellis who still felt like he didn't know him well enough to start throwing around nicknames) that he'd visit, and Poppy surely had other things to worry about. Not to mention the fact that there was no Pack meeting that he knew of...

No. He wouldn't fall into that trap again. Whether he liked it or not, Bellingstone was his home for the time being, at least until his rental period was up and he got used to the whole werewolf thing, and goodness knows how long that would take. He should at least attempt to be polite, even if that meant stepping out of his comfort zone.

With all of the determination he could muster, he finished his tea and wandered into his bedroom to get ready. Today was a comfort day, he realized, bypassing the interestingly patterned scarves and shirts in favor of broken-in jeans and a soft gray t-shirt. He hesitated for a moment, eying his bedroom mirror before pulling on an olive green jacket. While it wasn't a cold day, he could still see the raw, red scarring poking out from his sleeve, an aching, menacing reminder. He couldn't, he just couldn't-

Ellis took a wobbly breath, slipping on his shoes and running a hand through his hair. Good enough. It wasn't like he had anyone to impress (besides, his mind unhelpfully supplied, everybody he saw). If he thought about it anymore, he might not leave the house after all.

The nice thing about Bellingstone was that it was possible to walk just about anywhere you wanted to go if you had a bit of time, and the Escape Bar and Grill was no exception, even if Ellis had only been there once or twice before. The town itself was lovely too, scenic in a way that had Ellis a bit homesick for his mountainous hometown. Well, the nature bit, not the people bit. At least in Bellingstone he had a fifty-fifty chance of not being recognized as that one guy who got attacked by a wild animal on his first night in town.

That being said, fifty-fifty still wasn't the best odds. He pulled out his phone, more to pretend to be busy and avoid conversation with others wandering about the town today. Ellis hesitated for a moment before pulling up his text menu. Poppy had insisted on exchanging phone numbers with him the second time they'd met, and they'd had a smattering of conversations over the past month, fluctuating with certain events that had rocked their respective lives. He'd never been quite sure if it was a misguided attempt at kindness or an actual desire to speak with him that had prompted her to actually pursue a conversation with him.

Well, he had already come this far. He might as well...

Hello, Poppy. It's Ellis. I just wanted to see how you were.


He typed every word out in a slow, painstaking way, more to do with his technological ineptitude than his mounting hesitation. He paused for a moment before adding-

Sorry if I'm bothering you


-just for good measure. He hit send and immediately tucked his phone away. It was easier not to dwell on the reply that may or may not come if he wasn't keeping an eye on his phone. It was at that moment that Ellis noticed that he wasn't the only person on the sidewalk.

His first thought was that he felt like a huge tit because here was Poppy right now, out and about and apparently about ten feet from him since he'd sent the text. Talk about poor timing on his part. Was it too late to run and hope she hadn't spotted him? To pretend he hadn't seen her? Likely, honestly. Very, very likely.

However, she wasn't the only person who caught his eye.

Why was everyone in Bellingstone so damn attractive? That was Ellis's second thought when he spotted the giant of a man speaking with Poppy. Honestly, the man was somehow making jogging attire look good, a feat that Ellis had thought nigh impossible. It was like watching models converse, or at least models who had interesting things to say.

His third thought, however, was something more akin to, "What on Earth is that smell?"

His nostrils flared, and his steps faltered for a brief moment, eyes darting over to the jogger. That wasn’t a scent that he’d been expecting.

It was rather embarrassing, in Ellis’s opinion, that of all of the senses that could have started to sharpen first, it had to have been his sense of smell. Maybe he’d been dreaming too big when he’d hoped for night vision or superior hearing, and the punishment for his hubris was having to wear a medical mask for at least a week, too overwhelmed by even the softest of scents to breathe without any sort of barrier. It had been a sad day indeed when he had had to put all of his scented candles out in his shed, their once comforting scents sickening for a time as he adjusted to his new sense of self.

He’d adjusted, in the end, and differentiating smells was easier for him now. For example, in Eliss’s mind vampires generally tended to smell a little clinical, very clean with a sharp tang of iron. Werewolves, on the other hand, smelled more like the Earth, all dirt and fallen leaves as undertones to whatever other perfumes or colognes they had on. That’s what he was smelling right now, from this stranger, and that was odd indeed.

Ellis hadn’t heard about any werewolves outside of the Pack (and it was always Pack with a capital P in his mind) in Bellingstone, and, alright, he was new, but Axel had been pretty clear that he was the local Alpha Male and had failed to mention any lone wolves roaming nearby, and…

Oh, God, he was staring at the man. Ellis’s face flushed red in embarrassment. He tried to alleviate his own inherent awkwardness with a polite smile towards the unidentified werewolf, failed when it turned into a slightly pleasant grimace, and promptly picked up his pace, attempting to pass by. Haha, pay no attention to the weird man who didn't know how to function. Oh, God, why had he left home today again?

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Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn
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ALBRECHT WOLFF
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As Albrecht made his way down the streets, he increased his speed slightly, worrying that his little show of casually jogging past on one of the town's busier days looked too staged. Either way, he hadn't gathered anyone's attention yet. Likely, the news had just broken or was on the verge of breaking - which meant as far as many of the citizens knew, Al hadn't even returned. He could imagine them gossiping among themselves, murmuring of his return like some prodigal son. No one had ever said Albrecht was humble.

He was caught up in overthinking his actions when a woman stepped out onto the sidewalk, directly into his path. The two of them collided with a sharp exclamation from Al. The majority of the force came from him, a running man of some two hundred pounds, as he barged into her. And so, it seemed natural that he make an attempt to right her. He reached out, seizing her upper arms in his hands as he came to a halt.

"I'm so sorry miss, I -" They spoke at the same time, his hands still on her arms as he sputtered at a mile a minute. But then he finally got a good look at her, the curly hair, hazel eyes, and he realized all at once that he had run into - "Poppy Clarke."

Al's hands fell to his sides as she worked on hanging up the phone. He met her gaze, though he looked her over a fair amount as well, as if he hadn't really expected to see someone he had known. There was a moment of silence after her call ended in which Albrecht simply looked back at her, unsure if he should make some sort of first move or leave it to her. Eventually, she did fill in the silent space with a flurry of words that rushed out nervously. Al listened, beaming back at her, even though he certainly could hear an upset note in her voice initially.

"Good, good. I've been good," he replied, trying his best to look down at her without making it so obvious - although, he didn't really have much of a choice given the foot in height difference between the two of them. "I - uh, 'ran away' to attend college, go to law school. Now I'm here I guess." He punctuated his words with air quotes but suddenly wished he hadn't - it seemed too harsh given the fact that they hadn't spoken in years.

He paused for a moment, crossing his arms over his chest as he thought of something more to say. And then it dawned on him that he'd forgotten the most pressing of conversation topics.

"I was...so sorry to hear about your dad, Poppy," he said softly, his grin faltering now. "I suppose you've heard of my candidacy now. I-I can't possibly hope to live up to his legacy." An awkward silence fell then, for Albrecht hadn't a clue how to continue. But it was at that moment that the scent of a werewolf washed over him.

It was a new scent - that much he knew within a heartbeat. It was much softer and less overpowering than most of the werewolves he'd met in his life. In fact, it reminded him vaguely of his brother's scent when Axel had been in the midst of puberty, struggling to establish himself as a force in the pack. But this certainly was not Axel.

"Good morning," he greeted in a chipper manner, shooting a smile at the other werewolf as he looked his way. "I don't believe we've met before - I'm Albrecht Wolff." Trying not to edge Poppy out of the conversation, he twisted his torso to extend a hand in Ellis's direction. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

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Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn
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_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

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Andre had said plenty of times over the course of their childhood that Poppy had the tendency to be dramatic. Verbally, she could identify more with impulsive, from a rational standpoint that is. Dramatic made it seem like her antics or actions were not justified in light of whatever the situation at large had been. It made her feelings from those times seem trivial, as if he were dismissing them by casting them off as just another Poppy being "extra" for no damn reason. Except this time...she felt extra and she didn't even bother to hide the wince that came from Albrecht using her words, "ran away." She couldn't even really take in his condolences for her own blunder left a sour taste in her mouth. However, Poppy swallowed it in favor of mustering out a, "Thanks." Which obviously wasn't enough. Nowhere near after that foolishness. So, she quickly added to it:

"I-I-I mean...I'm glad you're doing good. Honestly. And I'm sure Bellingstone would be lucky to have one of their own taking over such an integral position within the community." She made sure to say that part with as much earnestly as she could muster. Albrecht and Poppy may have not ever been really close at any point in the past, but she could never say that she fully disliked him. He wasn't her favorite Wolff sibling back in the day, but that was a result of a personal bias on her part, not due to any actions taken by the older Wolff sibling. Luckily, the full length of time that would have transpired between them and formulated an awkward silence that would have made Poppy babble on and on until she found some reason to excuse herself or Albrecht just got tired of the same antics he probably remembered from her formative years, Ellis came as a distraction. Poppy wasn't even aware that he had text her before his arrival. So focused on what she had been doing and in the middle of a phone conversation, she hadn't even surmised that anyone but Andre would be texting her. And even if he was, he knew to call if it was an actual emergency. Yet and still, despite having no knowledge of her new friend trying to contact her a few moments ago, Poppy didn't hesitate to beam at him, relief in her gaze. "Ellis! Hey!" She probably should have allowed him to introduce himself, but considering how much she really hated the situation she was currently involved in, Poppy didn't see the problem. Plus, in moments like these, she couldn't help but fill the silence, even when she didn't want to. "Yeah, Albrecht Wolff meet Ellis Bleddyn. Ellis, this is Albrecht. He, uh, used to live here awhile back and went away for school. He's Axel's brother, actually."

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No such luck. Not that Ellis had every expected much of that. He’d long since learned to live his life as someone perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop. Oh, it might not be tomorrow, and it might not even be next month, but he had always been comfortable with the fact that no matter what was happening, things would eventually go terribly, terribly wrong. It’s probably why he hadn’t been more surprised at being mauled by an actual werewolf. After all, life had been going far too well for him at that point, so of course something absolutely ridiculous and awful just had to follow.

"Hey, Poppy. It's good to see you."

He meant it, for once, real warmth filling the typical platitude. If it had just been Poppy, Ellis would have been fine. She'd managed to worm her way into his good graces from their first meeting less than a month ago, and had since become the inspiration of true smiles and Ellis not actually feeling the need to run or fill any silences. This smiling stranger, however, was a different story, all easy charm and bold charisma for a first impression, something that Ellis was immediately terrified of.

Knowing that his escape from social interaction had been cut short and seeing no other option, Ellis went for his only defense. He plastered on what Mary had once fondly called his “politician smile”, a grin that very evidently showed that he was actively trying to be personable. It was just one of those things he’d had to learn how to do over the years, figuring that it was impolite to just stare like a deer in the headlights at the impossibility of a stranger actually wanting to speak with him about something not book or business related.

Well, perhaps not too much of a stranger anymore. Albrecht Wolff. Ellis blinked for a moment before taking his hand in a firm grip (he’d read once that a firm handshake made a good first impression and had adopted it as law for lack of other evidence).

Another Wolff in Bellingstone? It wasn’t that Ellis was terribly surprised that there were other Wolffs around here. Axel hadn’t exactly given him a rundown on anything other than the town’s basic past, glossing over the nitty-gritty of the old Wolff family tree. A cousin perhaps? Distant relative? An unrelated werewolf who’d felt the need to go somewhere where his last name could be appreciated? He couldn’t ask, of course, with Poppy standing right here and Ellis still not being certain how taboo it was to bring up something like being a supernatural creature with someone you don’t know.

Before Ellis could reply to Albrecht, Poppy had already stepped in and quickly took over the conversation. That, Ellis thought, was rather kind of her. If only all of his social interactions with strangers could be taken over by others, his life would be a much easier burden to bear.

In most people that thought would be dripping with sarcasm, but as Ellis let Albrecht’s hand go, he felt nothing but a relief and fondness for Poppy’s intervention, which was the effect Poppy generally had on him throughout their young friendship. Besides, Ellis could tell that Poppy was a bit put-off at the moment, a little more scattered than usual, and who was he to judge someone for talking a bit too much to overcompensate for an awkward situation? That was probably tactic number three in his own social-anxiety playbook.

She also provided a bit more information than Ellis had expected. Axel’s brother? Now that was a surprise. Ellis didn’t see it, not at first, but it was best to make a good impression if only so he didn’t terribly embarrass his pack-leader (and, more importantly, probably friend) in front of someone as important as his brother.

“What Poppy said. Nice to meet you,” he added once Poppy had finished and then, for lack of any other planned statement, babbled on with, “Axel's brother, huh? I, uh… Your brother’s very nice. Makes a… Makes a mean stack of pancakes.”

Which was true, even if Ellis had stumbled over the compliment. About Axel, certainly, since he’d been as kind as one could want, easing Ellis into his new circumstances as slowly and patiently as he could manage. Also about his food. The diner had been as good as he’d been promised, and Ellis visited as often as he felt up to seeing the rest of the Bellingstone Pack. It wasn’t that he didn’t like them, it was just… Sometimes it was too much of a reminder, and sometimes the soft attentiveness of members like Junsoo and the firmer and, to put it kindly, strict words of others like Sydney (she certainly wasn’t the Alpha Female for nothing) could be a bit much as well. He was making an effort, though, even if he was often convinced he’d be better off as a hermit.

There was a brief silence before Ellis spoke again, more because he felt like he should than any real desire to carry on with small talk. That and excusing himself from Albrecht to continue on his merry way probably meant leaving Poppy behind, and, honestly, she didn’t seem comfortable enough with Albrecht at the moment to make Ellis feel alright with that.

“I didn’t know that people really left Bellingstone.” He paused briefly, face shifting in a mild panic as he realized the implication and hurriedly made to correct it.

“That is, sorry… Not that people get stuck here or anything. I’m not saying it’s bad to stay here forever. I mean, it’s a lovely town, of course. Especially the library. But I’ve just met a lot of people who’ve stuck around or, I guess, just showed up. Like me.”

He shifted uncomfortably, absently adjusting his jacket to further cover the slowly healing scars, even if they weren’t peeking out. He took a breath and tried for a more relaxed smile. It partially succeeded, smoothing out his face and making it more pleasant and charming as opposed to anxious and worried.

“So, ah, what brings you back here, then? Not that you have to tell me. Just, ah… Well,” he trailed off with what he hoped appeared to be an amiable nonchalance.

Of course he hadn’t heard any of the gossip, and, even if he had, it wouldn’t have occurred to him why half of the things that were currently happening in Bellingstone were so dramatic. Without the context of past hierarchies and events and contention and hatred and love, it was all rather normal small town ordeals. Brother returns after six years, past relationships coming to light, and so on, and so on.

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Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn Character Portrait: Adelaide Renuex
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Location - Bellingstone Streets
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As Adelaide continued on her walk, she kept her eyes peeled for anyone the woman had known for a fact had been in town around the time of the Mayor's murder. Perhaps, Adelaide mulls over in her mind, I should go and visit Andre - see how he's handling everything. However, before the sheriff headed off to Escape - where she figured Andre would be, as Oscar was out campaigning and they needed someone to hold down the fort - Adelaide pulls out her phone to an incoming text from her deputy, it read:

From: Mark
Interesting news. I know you told us to keep an eye out for that Albrecht Wolff guy. Turns out I've just seen him around town. Want me to pull him in for questioning?

The look of shock on Adelaide's face was more than she could hope to hide. Taking a deep breath, Adelaide composes herself before shooting back a response,

To: Mark
That's okay Mark. I'm in town right now, you head back to the station and I'll see if I can't get a word with him.

Feeling bad for changing her plans, despite Andre not having a clue Adelaide was coming to visit him anyway, she decides to send him a text instead whilst her phone was in her hand.

To: Andre
Hey, just checking in with you, hope you're doing okay x

She wasn't entirely sure what to say to him - she'd already sent Andre and Poppy her condolences, and she was sure that he didn't need a constant reminder of his father's passing. Instead, the woman decides that perhaps just asking him how he is would suffice. Granted Andre certainly wasn't Adelaide's closest friend in town, but he was her oldest, having attended school together Adelaide didn't take a friendship that had lasted so long lightly. They may have fallen out of touch during her more reckless years, but Adelaide would always have the upmost respect and care for Andre - as she would his little sister. Poppy was a sweet girl, even if Adelaide couldn't say they had ever been exactly friends, she had known the girl too long to not care about her wellbeing.

Making her way along Bellingstone's streets with more of a sense of purpose than before, Adelaide keeps her eyes peeled for Al. What was she really planning on doing when she caught up with him? It'd been six years since they'd spoken - in fact, perhaps more. Ever since Al and Sydney got together, Adelaide's heart broke a little and she really couldn't face talking to, or ever seeing, her old friend.

Times had changed, however, and Adelaide had a job to do. She couldn't deny that it was suspicious Al and returned so soon after the Mayor's death. Maybe he'd been in the town for longer than she'd known, perhaps the rumours about him being in Bellingstone for a whole year before now were more than just rumours. Adelaide didn't know, and as the Sheriff of the town, it was her job to keep everyone safe which meant she couldn't afford to not know these things. Her father would've never let this happen, he was always on the ball and knew about all the goings on in town. Which was part of the reason he was so beloved by everyone.

Shaking these thoughts of inferiority out of her mind, Adelaide once again focuses on the task at hand. As she heads toward Poppy's apartment was. It is there that she catches sight of three figures, one belonging to the previously mentioned Poppy herself, another to a not so familiar face that she took for the relatively new resident, Ellis, and the third - Albrecht. Suddenly unsure about her approach, Adelaide debates whether to go and interrupt their conversations or not.

Inwardly rolling her eyes at herself, Adelaide chides herself for immediately becoming a nervous schoolgirl again, and begins the short walk over to the trio. Tuning in on their chattering, Adelaide picks up bits and pieces - it seems Poppy is perhaps even more nervous than Adelaide with her babbling, and Ellis was just introducing himself to Al.

Clearing her throat ever so slightly, Adelaide places a slightly strained smile on her face as she says, "Morning Poppy," The younger girl being who Adelaide knew the best, or at least had the best relationship with, the older woman took her for her in. Turning her gaze to Ellis, she smiles again, "You must be Ellis, I don't believe we've met yet," keeping her eyes solely on him, Adelaide continues, "I'm Adelaide Renuex, Bellingstone's Sheriff." It's not until she has greeted both Poppy and Ellis that Adelaide finally turns to look Albrecht in the eyes. "This is a surprise," Is all she can muster to begin with, before continuing, "It's nice to see you Albrecht." She couldn't decide whether she in fact meant the words she said or not, but Adelaide delivered them with at least a little sincerity.

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ALBRECHT WOLFF
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He could tell that his condolences hadn't gone over as well as he had hoped, but he supposed that was what he deserved for waiting so long. It was foolish to have done so, he realized now, for the support of the Clarke siblings would have meant a great deal to his campaign. Jeez, aren't you joyful today. He couldn't help but mentally reprimand himself for that - certainly, he wouldn't gain any support if he kept this mentality up.

"Thank you, Poppy. That means...that means a lot." He spoke a bit too quickly, the credibility of his words falling flat. Thank God Ellis showed up when he did.

"Ellis, huh? It's nice to see a new face in Bellingstone, Ellis." He held the younger man's hand for a moment longer than he might have normally, taking a moment to look him over. "You know Axel then?" Al slowly released the other werewolf's hand, his smile broadening slightly as if at the mention of his baby brother. "He's a good kid - I miss him. Honestly, I can't wait to see him." Al gave a soft chuff of laughter following the comment about the pancakes - whether he was laughing at the nostalgia the memory recalled or the way Ellis stumbled over his words or something else was anyone's guess.

He looked back at Poppy, figuring she would resume their conversation once again, but then Ellis spoke again. Albrecht had hardly met the man, and yet he already had a read on him. The nervous, submissive aura he was giving off was hitting Al like a train. He could only imagine the poor guy hadn't established himself in the pack. Albrecht found himself wondering if Axel had stayed with the pack these years. Of course, the idea of Axel being Alpha never even crossed Al's mind. The Axel Wolff he had known since childhood was not born to lead. What a shock he would face, in that case.

"They leave, they come back," he replied, crossing his arms loosely over his chest. "Don't worry - I know what you mean. She's got a charm about her, doesn't she?" His eyes narrowed slightly, inquisitively. "Bellingstone finds a way of dragging you in." He knew he couldn't ask Ellis for his story - not in front of Poppy at least. Another scent, further away this time, began to reach him on the breeze - a scent he hadn't caught in years. Of course, he hadn't been here in years, but this was a significant person. Adelaide, he recalled.

So lost was he in thought that he almost lost Ellis's question. "Huh? Oh, it just seemed right. Getting back to my roots and all." He turned as Adelaide began to address the other members of his rag-tag party of sorts.

"It's certainly nice to see you as well, Addie," he replied, beaming back at her. He considered reaching out to embrace her, but Al quickly quelled that urge when he took note of the strained smile she wore. "Or is it Sheriff from me?" God, he hated this damn witch hunt of sorts. At least Ellis didn't seem to understand the importance of his return in the grand scheme of things. And so, he turned back to face the anxious werewolf.

"I don't suppose you'd want to take me over to the diner to see AJ?" he asked, choosing to use Axel's childhood nickname, a long dead artifact, to reference his brother. As if the nickname might prove he deserved to see the brother he abandoned years ago. But, then again, he had always been distant from Axel in an emotional sense. "I figure I ought to say hi or something." Reluctantly, he faced the two women. "Of course, I'd love to catch up with the two of you - we could grab coffee or something at the diner?"

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Oh, oh, oh, and didn’t things always happen at once? Ellis was beginning to believe that someone had put a sign on his back saying something like, “Talk to me!” or “Be my friend” or, more likely than not, “This guy is not good at conversations, so, if you’d like a good laugh, see what happens if you talk to him.” Okay, maybe a little bit of an exaggeration (a little bit), but the point stood that this was the most people he’d met in Bellingstone at once barring, well, “the incident”. This also continued the trend of all of them looking like models which simply wasn’t fair.

Adelaide was certainly beautiful, somehow giving off an air of confident femininity mixed with something a little rougher, a little darker. He couldn’t say that he was surprised to hear that she was the sheriff, but he had to stop himself from inhaling deeply to try to figure out what, if anything outside of mortal, she was. Snorting up someone’s scent was hardly a good first impression.

“It’s nice to meet you, ma’am. Er, Sheriff, I mean.” He’d never been good with authority figures. They always made him nervous in a vague sort of way, like teachers calling on you the one time you don’t have your homework or security guards at the airport giving you the special patdown for no discernable reason.

“Yes. I’m Ellis. I’m an author. I… Yes.” There was a slip right there. He'd been a bit secretive about his occupation to the residents of Bellingstone, even before the incident, but now it was slipping out because, well, he was still suffering from diarrhea of the mouth courtesy of not being prepared for social interaction this morning. But perhaps it was fine. She had moved on already, and wasn’t that something of a relief? He glanced at Poppy, pulling an amusingly distressed face for half a moment before Albrecht had one again caught his attention.

And that really was sweet that he missed his brother. As an only child, Ellis could only imagine that sort of bond between family members, especially ones separated for a few years. Maybe this was all going to work out okay. Albrecht, Ellis realized, was someone born to speak, all smooth words and easy answers to any question thrown his way. A born lawyer, perhaps, or maybe a politician. Ellis might not be particularly good with people, but he was certainly an observer of humanity.

Take for instance the interaction between the Sheriff and Albrecht. A little cold, a little strained, and all of it stained with that same odd hesitance that had tinged Albrecht’s conversation with Poppy. There was something there he wasn’t quite getting, something underlying everything.

But then Albrecht was asking to go to the diner, even if it took Ellis a moment to realize AJ was Axel because AJ just seemed so… so childish in comparison to Axel. Axel with his motorcycle and cool looks and status as Bellingstone’s unrefuted Alpha.

“No, absolutely. I can… I can definitely do that. I’m sure he’ll be excited to see you.” Even as he said it, his eyes were on Poppy again, his life preserver in this uncertain sea of social interaction.

Yes, please come along with us, he mentally begged before, on the realization that Poppy was a lot of things but probably not a mind reader, slowly starting his way towards the diner. Slowly, of course, in case another conversation popped up or, worse, if someone else decided to join them. At best they’d be on their merry way to see a family reunited. At worst Ellis would be halfway out of there by the time anyone noticed he had left, and maybe that wasn’t such an awful thing after all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Sydney Green Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn Character Portrait: Adelaide Renuex
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_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Bellingstone Streets
Dialogue Color ✦ #E8ADAA
Thought Color ✧ #985D5A




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Had anyone else joined the conversation, Poppy would have found a way to skip the fuck out of dodge and try again elsewhere. Somewhere far, far, far from here with Albrecht and even Adelaide, with whom Poppy had more pleasant memories and perceptions. She wouldn't go so far as to say that she and Albrecht had a definite past or anything of that nature, but not being close with someone - combined with the fact that your ex happened to be their little brother who didn't exactly have the greatest opinion of them, even if you guys never talked about said sibling often - and having to interact with them after so long was tiresome. Especially because despite their geographical location, Bellingstone citizens had a firm grasp on what everyone else knew to be Southern hospitality. Everyone wanted to be kind and almost doting to an extent, always helpful, always there - even when they were actually sneering down their noses or just trying to be nosy. And considering Poppy's newfound courageousness as it came to her social life - note the word new because it was still relevant - it didn't mean that she was particularly elated to be in their present situation. Having Ellis involved now didn't help matters at all.

Because Poppy knew that this was going to go one of two ways: she was either going to a.) wind up going to the diner and being inadvertently involved in a sibling spat that honestly didn't even sound like it was going to be pretty even from a distant standpoint, or b.) abandon Ellis to be dragged on to the diner and be inadvertently involved in a sibling spat that honestly didn't even sound like it was going to be pretty even from a distant standpoint. And Poppy was a lot of things, but she wasn't exactly petty nor cruel. So, when Ellis turned to her big, pleading dark eyes, she realized that there was no way she could just leave him to whatever his fate was going to be. She felt herself relaxing her frame - more like, slumping, really but she had had etiquette classes and she couldn't exactly say that she slumped in any way without thinking of Mrs. Levesque and that blasted ruler! - and painting on a softer smile, mostly for Ellis' benefit than either Adelaide or Albrecht's. She also didn't hesitate to whip out her cell phone as she spoke and looped her arm with Ellis', typing out a warning text after she finished speaking."Y-yeah, sure. I was planning on seeing Syd anyway today."

To: Syd
Trouble's coming n im so sorry

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Payton Wright Character Portrait: Theodore Payne
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T J . P A Y N E

Hex Code: #f88a3f
TJ chuckled at Payton's quick-witted response. He could appreciate her spunk, especially when it was coupled for a genuine interest in his parts. He had respect for anyone nowadays who knew how to use their hands to build and fix things. In a country where it seemed like every kid stepping out of high school was pushed to attend some brand name college that would set them into a pit of endless despair and debt, meeting someone who knew a trade was refreshing and delighting in its own way, even if that person was a werewolf. "Blow things up?" TJ questioned, an eyebrow quirked as he looked at her. That was something you didn't hear someone list as a hobby ever day. "I mean, as long as you aren't about to build a homemade bomb and send the feds my way after you blow up some subway station, by all means, look around," he said, smiling a bit, as he guessed (or hoped) that she was talking about blowing things up in a more leisurely way than how he had construed it, but still not being sure. He was already skeptical of her for being a werewolf, and while her being female cut her a break on his outward skepticism, he still wouldn't have put it past her to actually be into something more serious than her enthusiasm made it seem. "I can special order something for you if you want something I don't have," he added, as he moved away from her and began to put away his tools.

He was done with his work for today, and he was happy about that because understandably, finishing projects and reaching goals felt good. At the same time, it meant that he had a lot of free time on his hands today. He considered getting the girls and driving to the nearest lake to do some fishing, something that he had taken up as a pastime twenty years or so ago, when they spent a few years living in a cabin right on a lake in New Hampshire. He had never been too much of a fan of the water when he was younger, but now he enjoyed it, even if that didn't mean that he was particularly big on swimming. As long as he wasn't dealing with the sun beaming down on him all day, he could enjoy himself out on a small boat on calm water. As much as that sounded like a good plan to him, he doubted that his sisters would be interested, though, and as silly as it sounded, given that his sisters were older than the "oldest and wisest" humans still alive, he didn't trust leaving them home alone. Lucy was one story. TJ trusted her, and knew that she could hold her own in any situation. She would probably spend the day at home reading, at the library, or at a bookstore picking out new books. She was very predictable in how she spent her time, something that she was unashamed of. What TJ really meant when he said that he was wary of leaving his sisters alone was that he was wary of leaving Ember alone. She would cause mayhem in the town, or even just for Lucy, and if he tried taking her with him on his fishing trip, he didn't put her flipping the boat over past her, even if it was only done accidentally out of being antsy. He didn't know what today's plans would entail, so he decided to be friendly and reach out to Poppy.

To: Poppy
Hey Poppy... hope you're holding up... any plans for today?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Valerie Alastair Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Ophelia M. Hawthorne Character Portrait: Ivan Moreau Character Portrait: Axel Wolff Character Portrait: Junsoo Moon Character Portrait: Sydney Green Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Johanna Collins
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S Y D N E Y . G R E E N
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Location; Felix's Diner
Hex Code; #D58223

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Her head was beginning to hurt because she felt really overwhelmed right about now. She sighed softly to herself and raised her fingers up to rub her temples, her eyes fluttered back over towards her phone as it chimed. Sydney waltzed over to grab her phone and saw Poppy's name stroll across the screen. 'Oh, great. What now?' She thought to herself with an eye roll after reading Poppy's message, which she began to type a reply to.

To: Poppy
Is today pick on Sydney day or something?


She hit send and placed her phone back on the counter top, trying her best to form a smile among her lips as a few more customers rolled inside. Luckily, some of the other employees were now handling the floor so that she could be beside Axel and Johanna for a little while longer. Sydney's eyes averted over towards Ophelia whenever she finally responded towards her about the water. She made a face, of course and went ahead to gather Ophelia's order, walking away momentarily.

Sydney placed the coffee cake in front of Ophelia, along with a fork and spoon then placed a mug beside it, pouring some coffee inside of the mug. "I hope you enjoy." She said then sat the coffee pot down back in place. Her eyes then went towards Valerie as she came into the diner and offered her a wave. She then saw Ivan, yet another vampire, walked in and went over to sit beside Valerie. She could not help but make a slight face towards him that signified her disgust for him.

Whenever Axel answered her questions, she looked at him. Sydney wondered to herself if Albrecht was actually back to regain some type of control over the pack once again. Her eyes cut towards Johanna as she could feel that she is worried about her. Sydney could not help but go over towards her, resting her hand on top of hers. "No need to worry about me. Both of you. I can handle myself." She had no choice but to remain strong in front of the alpha male and a member of the pack. Once Axel said that he needed to call a meeting and now, she did not know how to feel.

Every single time the door opened, she kept on looking over to see if the so called trouble that Poppy referred to had entered the premises. Her phone chimed once more and she walked over towards it, reading the message sent from June and did not bother to response since he was probably on his way towards the diner anyway. Sydney really had hoped that Albrecht had not returned to town because if he did, she certainly had some explicit words for him.

"Well, I guess all we do now is wait." Sydney muttered towards Johanna and Axel as she decided that she needed to take her mind off of things and needed some fresh air. "I need to step outside for a moment. Johanna, would you care to join me? I really need some girl talk right about now." She practically pleaded towards Johanna, walking towards the back and waving for Johanna to follow her out of the backdoor.