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Riley Paige

0 · 682 views · located in New York City

a character in “City Living”, as played by predictmeifyoucan

Description

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Name:
Riley Paige

Age:
20

Birthday:
August 5th

Nationality:
American
French

Sexual Orientation:
Heterosexual

Birth place:
Martinique

Origin:
Michigan (4-11)
Poconos, Pennsylvania (11-18)
New York, New York (18-Present)


Occupation:
Full time student at NYU
Tutor

Hex:
#8365A1






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Personality


Riley is one of those people who seems like she has her life together. Because she possesses a great deal of self-disclosure and expressive control, it's easy to see how she would come across as not having many loose ends. Since she has such a calming composure, a lot of the times that comes off less as a personality trait and more as an indicator that she is so calm because she doesn't actually have anything to worry about. In reality, just like everyone else in the world, she also has her qualms, but she just isn't vocal about them. While not necessarily shy, she isn't usually the loudest person in the room. If not observant, she is at least calm and collected. Growing up, adults would always compliment her on her 'poise' and what a lady she was. This wasn't ever anything intentional, but just the natural way she carries herself, something she still doesn't understand to this day, since she wouldn't consider herself to be especially reserved. The truth of the matter is that she just isn't a very audible person, and her reactionary spectrum is much more condense than a lot of other people. When she's super excited, in relation to her, it's clear that she's happy, but compared to most other people, she doesn't look as joyous as they might. Just because she isn't a loose ball of energy, doesn't mean she's uptight though. Just like anyone else, Riley enjoys having having fun, and as such, likes the company of good people. She prefers intimate gatherings, but she wouldn't be in a corner terrified at a large party either. She's not one to demand things go her way, even if she had a preference in mind, and because of that, she comes across as a relatively chill, go-with-the-flow kind of person. She isn't passive in that regards, but she reserves her energy for things that she holds incredibly dear, and even then, she is still quite contained. A large amount of her energy is dedicated to her schoolwork. Looking at her, it wouldn't seem that she was such a busy person with so much on her plate because even when she is stressed, she doesn't show in the way a typical person would. She's not vocalizing all of her issues, just as she doesn't vocalize any of her blessings. Her reactions are quite enclosed, and even when she is detailing bits of her life, like how she has three papers and a film assignment due, very rarely will the actual severity of the situation reflect in her voice or body language. In fact, quite conversely, she tends to appear calmer when she has a lot going on, just because she is so focused, and that is probably why she appears the way she does.

While she isn't visibly a busy body, she is quite an ambitious person. Riley loves that feeling of accomplishment and the validation that comes along with it. She doesn't take on so many things to prove to the world what she is capable of so much as she does to convince herself. She hates failing and has a bad habit of internalizing anything below her satisfaction levels. Being caught off guard is one of her biggest pet peeves and one of her downfalls since she has a tendency to take things personally. Therefore, knowing everything she needs to know without cutting any corners ensures that she won't be faced with any surprises. Riley just likes feeling a sense of control, and not in an authoritarian sense. It's really for her own security, since she is at a point in her life where there are so many possibilities ahead of her to the point of it being overwhelming. And, feeling quite disconnected to many parts of her identity, feeling in control makes her feel as though she has control of her life. With Riley, there is a sort of paradox. She appears in control only due to her pursuit of finding that feeling. That being said, Riley doesn't need to have a plan for everything. While she doesn't like surprises, just like anyone else, monotony drives her insane. Her hunger for knowledge also means that she is a curious person, eager to learn and try new things, even if she might be apprehensive about it. All in all, Riley has a very good, clean energy about her. She might not be the most vibrant personality out of a group of people, but she is a special character in her own right, and has a unique allure to her.

Likes:
Iced coffee, baby animals, peppermint, everything cold weather (clothing, fesitivities, etc), popsicles, foreign languages, yogurt, liquid lipstick, coconut oil, warm blankets, success, coupons

Dislikes:
Yellow starbursts, nuts, rainboots (it's a love/hate relationship), orange, people who stand too close, those who disrespect and invalidate her family, not feeling a part of anything




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History

Riley was born in the French insular region of Martinique to a mother and father she has no real memory of. All of her earliest memories involve her adoptive parents, Abigail and Martin Paige, and her five other siblings. While she did not grow up lavishly, she grew up more comfortable than most people in the country. She has many fond memories of family trips and other excursions that were so commonplace where she grew up, that she thought it was just something standard. Even if her family wasn't taking annual vacations to Europe, she was always very fortunate, even if it didn't seem that way a child. Even though she and her siblings were home schooled and generally went without want (as far as basic necessities went), her peers and neighbors had far more wealth and did things that her family rarely, if ever did. Because of that, Riley didn't really know just how good she had it. She never complained about what she did have, but because she was never really exposed to anything outside of Michigan and the lifestyle of her neighborhood, in relation to everyone else, her family definitely didn't seem that rich. Take into consideration that there were eight mouths to feed, a mortgage, and the six figure amount of debt her parents her accumulated from four adoptions, their disposable income was far stifled compared to their counterparts. As a child, she didn't know or even understand any of this. All she knew was that she loved being around her family so much, and weekend trips to the lake (as pretentious as that sounds) felt equivalent to her Girl's Scouts friends going with their mother out of the country for the summer. Her parents, regardless of money, never wanted to have a very spoiled way of living. They cherished simplicity and old family traditions that didn't cost a pretty penny to earn. 'No' was a common word in her house. Finances aside, Mr. and Mrs. Paige never had any intention of spoiling their kids in what they considered to be such unhealthy ways.

Overall, her childhood had very few hiccups. With her parents having a well-paying, steady job and spending whatever free time they had to be with the family, on top of her amazing siblings, it's safe to say that that time was one of her more favorite parts of her life. Even if she wasn't raised to be entitled and ungrateful, looking back on it, though, Riley wished she had appreciated those days even more. When she was ten years old, the state of the economy began to really reflect itself in her household. Money was typically kind of snug, but as the recession approached--and eventually worsened--funds grew tight. And after her mother lost her job, the financial blow was so hard that they had to start selling some of their possessions. At the same time, her grandfather passed, leaving the ranch in her father's name, but it couldn't have come at a more worst time emotionally or financially. Unable to support such a big family in an area they were already barely keeping up with, the Paige's moved several states over to Pennsylvania. She was still so young, so she didn't understand the severity of the situation, but she could feel that there was an uncomfortable shift in the dynamic. Her parents didn't seem excited by the beautiful landscape. The memory that stands out the most after their move was exclaiming how excited she was to go camping, and hiking, and ride horses, only to have her mother hang her head and leave the room. With so many issues going on, her parents couldn't dedicate as much time and energy as they liked to the kids and their schooling, but thinking back on it, Riley knows that they also just didn't want the kids in the house any longer. It wasn't a conducive learning environment, and they could probably tell that their children were picking up on their parents' stress. So at 12, Riley had her first day of school, and for the next few months, she went through an extreme pre-teen angst phase. She hated going to school and being in a new environment, and she hated her parents for forcing this onto her.

By eight grade, her mother had found a job she was overqualified for, but Riley was just excited to go back home, however, she remained in public school. She did eventually take to the adjustment, and managed to make new friends and enjoy her last few years in school. During her teenage years, she experiences very subtly discomforting situations that she was too young and naive to digest, nor did she have the language to process them. There instances of micro-aggressions, and an every increasing curiosity about her blended family. This wasn't something novel to her, and it never bothered her as a child, but her peers made her feel like she was in some sort of circus, even if they never explicitly said so. Because she couldn't really put her thumb on what it was that bothered her about some of the things she dealt with from her friends, she had a lot of bottled up, unprocessed emotions. This caused her to have a strained relationship with her parents throughout her sophomore and part of her junior year. By graduation, everything seemed as close to normal as it seemed it would get. Her mother had a better job, they were doing better financially, and she had gotten accepted into a great school. Just as her parents had always told her, the world was hers and she could do absolutely anything she wanted so long as she put her mind to it; the only obstacle she would ever have to worry about was herself. Her year off would prove that wrong. Suddenly she was exposed to the cold realization that this wasn't the case for people like her and she has still been dealing with the repercussions of her parents' biased approach. As of now, she just feels incredibly disconnected and at a lost with everything. Even if it's not really their fault, Riley can't help but feel betrayed in a lot of senses. The people she would usually turn to, who were and still are such an integral part of her life, she's not sure she can fully trust.

So begins...

Riley Paige's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Oscar Teenson Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Jetta BabinX
Dialogue Color ✦ #2d2491

“Glitter on the west streets
Silver over everything
The rivers all wet…”


Jetta chanted along to these words as she drew. Mouthing them with vigor and contorting her face like a rock star who was singing the closing banger to an iconic tour. The sounds of synthesizers and electric guitars flooded through her headphones as the stylus loosely pinched between her fingers glided and twirled against the surface of her modestly-sized (though in all honestly it was quite small) Wacom tablet. Her eyes were trained on the computer screen, jittering this way and that as each new cluster of pixels revealed themselves as smooth, pressure sensitive strokes. Recently, she’d been inspired by superheroes, namely the female ones. And so for a few months she’d been among the legions of internet artists drawing their favorite big-busted, latex clad heroines, each of them in competition to see who can make their Wonder Woman the most distinguished. This time she was working on Riri Williams, the black female incarnation of Iron Man that shook up the world of comic books. And her bionic suit, a chromatic collection of reds and golds landed her portrait work in Jetta’s glam rock playlist on Spotify.

The song, which was by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, reached its chorus—a breathless procession of the phrase (and title of the song) “Heads Will Roll.” It was typically at this point in the song where Jetta would be overcome with excitement and a desire to throw her head back, dance and play the air bass because she was more of a bass guitar person than an electric guitar person anyway. But instead she restrained herself, attempting to channel that same energy into the springs and curls of Riri’s hair.

By the song’s end, she rubbed her red flushed eyes. It was almost 6pm and she hadn’t bathed, had barely eaten, and hadn’t dared to look outside since she woke up at 10 AM. That’s how Fridays typically were for Jetta, who arranged her class schedule so that she had Fridays off. And while she would have normally had work, she convinced her manager that she needed the entire week to move in and would be back at the restaurant by Monday. She drew her cursor to the menu and saved her drawing. It was still mostly line art, but it was coming together.

Jetta stood up for a stretch and a long gasp of air slipped from her lungs as she realigned her back and rolled her shoulders. One thing was for sure, Fridays like this were never good for her posture. She kicked off her sweat pants and started looking for her towel, which was lost in the mess of her clothes. Though she was mostly unpacked, she still hadn’t sorted her clothes and put them away. But once she found a towel she strode to the shower.

Jetta didn’t know much about her roommates though they seemed perfectly nice. She met them in one of those NYU housing pages where they were looking for a third roommate to make rent cheaper. And Jetta, who had previously been subletting a couch in a one bedroom were damn near four people lived (it was supposed to be three but one of them had a boyfriend) jumped at the opportunity to stay somewhere else. Sure the rent was a little bit higher, but Jetta figured that if she got her shit together and took a few more shifts during the week she wouldn’t see a huge difference in her wallet. Anyway, Zoey and Riley seemed like perfectly fine people. But Jetta, feeling like the odd one out since they only met in person a few days ago, was determined not to be flagged as the annoying roommate. Which explains why her shower went by as quickly as it did.

Freshened, she slinked back into her room bundled in a towel for warmth. New York in the winter was never Jetta’s favorite. And in a true southern fashion she often over compensated in layers of warmth. It took half an hour to blow dry her hair and find the right clothes, but she settled on wearing thermal fleece leggings under sweat pants, a T shirt and flannel under a pull over hoodie, and thick wool socks that peeked out from the neck of her Timberland work boots. It wasn’t the fabulous pumpkin spice look that so many New York women have mastered, but by God Jetta was warm. With her long blonde tresses still tucked into the pull over, she pulled a skull cap over her ears and adorned her scarf and gloves.

Today, Jetta decided, she was going to grab a nice hot dollar slice of pizza and a beer. And because the table top flat screen Jetta contributed to the apartment hadn’t been shipped yet, she figured she’d also go see a movie too.

The blonde took the stairs down to the lobby and the heavy thud of her workboats created a rhythmic pat down the staircase. Downstairs a man was checking his mail. But not too far from him was an amazon box. Admittedly, Jetta was the kind of person to see who the box was addressed to, even if she hadn’t ordered anything. She pranced past the man checking his mail and uttered a courteous “Mornin” to him. The twang of her southern accent rang loudly in the place of the dropped ‘g’ sound.

“Oh well I suppose the TV came after all,” she hummed aloud as she peered at the mailing label with her name on it. She bent down and hoisted the box up. It wasn’t particularly heavy as much as it was inconveniently sized. So Jetta had a hard time keeping a grip.

“Excuse me,” she asked the man. “You know if there’s any sort of elevator in this building?”

When Jetta moved in her and the folks helping her move just took the stairs. And while four flights weren’t completely terrible, they could be incredibly annoying.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Riley Paige
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Riley Paige
Hex Code: #8365A1
Outfit
It was a bit of a shock to her, still, just how different New York was from home. The holidays had been good for her, though nothing to brag about. It was typical and overall joyous, without any lavish trips or expensive presents. Perhaps because when the holidays was most important to her--as a child--and she had gotten her security there, she didn't feel like she was missing out on anything by not continuing to have huge Christmas celebrations. Additionally, coming from such the opposite energy, the low key nature of being back home was truly welcomed. She loved living in New York, even with its pitfalls, and she'd better because a positive outlook was perhaps the only thing she could afford without worry. Nothing beat being back home, though, at least for her. Even if it was an odd adjustment going from independence to your parents wanting to treat you like a child again, coming back to your own reality where the truth was that you were essentially no one here, unless you knew the right people, made home seem that more desirable. Nevertheless, Riley was happy to be back, and in a new setting. If she could go back, she would have spent her year off at home, to save money, but she wanted to be used to the hustle and bustle of New York by the time she started her first year. And while there were some benefits to that plan, they weren't enough for her to not really regret losing so much money in such a short amount of time. It was definitely a culture shock, and quite frankly, a slap in the face. She'd painted a bit of a romantic view of the city, as was typical for any teenager moving on their into one of the most well known cities in the world. She was excited about the possibilities and fell into a state of reading success stories and the like. However, even with the hard truths such as it taking eight or ten years of living in the city to land whatever the groundbreaking opportunity was (and in many cases, even longer), Riley had naively convinced herself she could push through that because she was a hard worker. But here, everyone was.

There was no changing the past, though, she told herself. She was here now, and she wouldn't be here without making some mistakes. She dormed her first year of school, just to experience it, but considering what she was paying for what she was receiving, that wasn't as worth it either. Granted, she was still paying an arm and a leg for rent, but compared to how things were two years ago when she was sharing an apartment with four other girls and without the help of student loans, her current situation was surely preferable. Then again, this could have just been the calm before the storm. The winter blues hadn't hit her yet, and there was still some leftover holiday warmth in her. With a new year and a new apartment, it felt like a fresh start, not that she so badly needed to restart. It was always nice, though, to feel like you had another shot at something. She was hoping to keep cutting down on asking her parents for help, something she really only did a handful of times because this was her choice after all. She could have gone to a good state school and saved so much more money, and coupled with the fact that her parents were very against her 'selling her life away' by getting into a ridiculous amount of debt over a four year degree. It just didn't seem right or fair to try to tap out now, and it wasn't even like they could help out as much as she would need. Riley came from a very secure background. She had never considered herself wealthy growing up, but that was because she was around wealthier, more frivolous people. Even the things she did that were really only associated with a certain lifestyle, she didn't end up realizing until later that it wasn't commonplace for the rest of America. Looking back on it now, as she squeezed around one of the many shopping bags she had yet to unpack inside her small bedroom, it seemed like some kind of dream she had been living. To think that way was a bit dramatic, though, because while her family went through a lot of money troubles during the recession, and had always had to watch their spending, it would be incredibly ignorant of her to believe her family poor. They were spread pretty thin, and with so many of them in college and not getting much financial aid despite having a large household, it made matters worse. Riley didn't have to go home wondering if there would be a Christmas, though, which said a lot about just how fortunate she was, and she tried to remind herself of that.

Making Dean's list, reaching out to her parents for help less, and saving more money. That was what she could think of at the moment. And maybe even finding some kind of fling, which admittedly felt pretty stupid to say. "No, I love her, but she's always saying something ignorant to me and my sisters. Why aren't you asking the guys about when they're planning on having kids?" she said across the room, looking for her nail filer yet again. The past few days had been pretty hectic, and it was actually quite odd for her room to be like this at all, but then for it to have been like this so long. She was officially getting fed up with herself because this chipped nail was bothering her more than it should, and it was probably because she hadn't eaten all day and was in 'hangry' territory. It was nearly impossible to hear any sign of actual aggravation, even in the telltale sighing she was doing, there wasn't much bitterness to it. And as upset as her aunt's comment had made her during break, as usual, her voice didn't emit just how badly she had wanted to politely tell her aunt how instead of focusing on what's going on in her bed, she needed to focus on making better dishes because no one liked her damn casserole. "Ask if her if her rent was $1300 and jobs were $13 an hour if she'd be thinking about babies."

"Honestly. Hey, I'm gonna get some food and figure out what's going on with my room and I'll call you back later," she told her former roommate, the only girl from her previous living situation she ended up not absolutely hating. Riley had been pretty disappointed when the girl couldn't move in with Riley. Or she could have, but she had a better deal staying with her boyfriend, so Riley couldn't really fault her for doing what everyone was trying to do and save money. Thinking about it, and right after that conversation, made her huff into the drastically empty fridge. "Damn, maybe I do need a boyfriend," she mumbled, reaching inside. She pulled out her third day of leftovers, staring at it disgruntled. "Sick of Chinese food, man."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Oscar Teenson Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Oscar & Jetta & Zoey




It was expected, in an apartment building such as this, that Oscar was going to inevitably run into a few people out in the hallways or by the mailboxes. As he read through a couple of his letters, his sandwich hanging from his mouth whenever he had to use both hands to open an envelope, a blonde came bouncing down the stairs and uttered a polite ‘Morning’ to him. Oscar only gave a polite nod in response as his hands were tied up and his food was currently occupying his mouth. She moved past him, towards a box that was near the rest of the mailing area, and just as he was about finished with his letters, he noticed her turn towards him. Elevator? If there was, it would have been in the center of the stairwell column Oscar thought. He was about to reply when instead another woman came in from the cold and interjected on his behalf.

Naturally then came the request for help, in a different more playful tone, but it was there. Of course, he was given an out in the form of the new woman offering to take a side, but it was heavily implied that he would simply do it because compliments make the world go round apparently. Oscar gave a sigh, clasping the mail together and shoving some of it into his breast pocket while the rest went into the back pocket of his jeans. His sandwich was only half eaten, and by now he had had it in his mouth for some time, he took a bite out of it before essentially lodging it in between his teeth to free up his hands. He walked over to the couple, not saying anything because of the obvious, and grabbed the side that would allow him to be on the bottom carrying side going up. With a motion of his head, he signaled for the blonde to pick up her side and lead the way, since he had no idea where he was going with this.

“Hey there!” Jetta chirped after Zoey’s initial interjection about the elevator. She hadn’t seen either of her roommates all day today, but better late than never! Truthfully, the blonde was pretty prepared to rough it on her own but Zoey’s suggestion was just too convenient and charismatic to pass up.

“I mean, if you don’t mind any?” She inquired reluctantly as she turned back toward the man. But almost as soon as she prompted him he was already hoisting up one side of the box, sandwich hanging from his mouth. She raised her brows and moved to latch herself to the other side.

As she backed onto the stairs she offered a toothy, almost goofy smile. “We appreciate the help by the way. I’m Jetta, how bout you?” They were almost up the first landing and without thinking she jutted her hand towards him for a shake. But she immediately recoiled when her side of the box gaveway. She recoiled her hand, jamming her knee up into the box to regain the steadiness she’d forfeited for a simple handshake.

“Sorry my bad,” she rasped as she backed into the second flight. She always hated looking dumb, especially in a city like New York where people might think everyone from the south was an ignorant bumpkin. As if dropping the box wasn’t dumb enough, she was doubly embarrassed that she was expecting him to talk back to her with a mouth full of ham.

“Yeah,” she said, nodding frantically. “My bad.”

The silence on the guy's part was a bit off-putting, but given that he literally had a mouth full of sandwich, it was more of Zoey's sensitive side talking, than an actual reflection of his personality. She couldn't expect him to chuckle or even crack a smile when he physically couldn't, really. Besides, he did end up taking the side of the television box opposite Jetta and nodded for them to lead the way, so at least he was actually helping. Zoey felt a bit misplaced now, with no way to help, but as she had originally hinted at, she didn't necessarily want to either, when her body was still recovering from a twenty minute walk in the freezing cold. So, she opted to lead the way in front of them, because then, at the very least, she decided that she could quickly open the apartment door to help in that way. "And I'm Zoey," she added after Jetta introduced herself, nearly dropping the TV in the process. "And if you happen to be lucky enough to live on the fourth floor," she said, grinning, though she wasn't actually facing either of them, "You can consider us your new, not-always-this-needy, neighbors."

Between trying to keep the sandwich in his mouth and help with the admittedly light box, every way of communicating beyond morse code by blinking was unavailable to Oscar. When the woman, now named Jetta, started asking for his name he wanted to give a very dry response but the best he could do was offer an incredulous look as she didn't seem to realize that his mouth was filled with probably the first bit of food he had had all day. When she nearly dropped the box, Oscar moved out of reflex to try and catch it, nearly dropping his sandwich in the process, but luckily she had caught her end. Apparently she had tried to perform a handshake...while holding the box. Not a forward thinking one, are you? Oscar thought to himself as she frantically apologized and continued moving up the stairs with Oscar in toe. The other woman also introduced herself as Zoey, at which point Oscar did start to feel the slightest tinge of disrespect coming from himself for not being able to introduce himself properly. It was understandable, but he still felt somewhat bad.

On top of that, it appeared that they were to be his neighbors, with the joke that they wouldn't always be this needy. Oscar shrugged at the joke, not really giving any indication that he found it funny or not as they managed to make their way up the stairs without any further incident. When they got to their apartment, which was right across from his, Zoey opened the door and they made their way inside to where they placed the box for the TV in the living room. With his hands free and finally able to respond, Oscar took that bite out of his sandwich and quickly swallowed it, holding onto it with one of his now free hands. "Oscar." He replied curtly, although not intentionally trying to be rude. "My name, that is." He added afterwards. He placed his hand forward towards Jetta, seeing as she had been wanting to formally shake hands before and now seemed like as good a time as any. "And yeah, I live right across from you." He added, motioning his head towards the door. "Would you like a hand setting up your tv?"

“Nice to meet you Oscar. We definitely owe you a favor for sure,” Jetta said as she shook his hand. She reached of a box cutter on a nearby table that hadn’t been put away since move in. When Oscar asked if they needed additional help she chuckled a bit.

“Oh now don’t feel no obligations,” Jetta hummed as she squatted over the box, slicing through its tape with a quick precision. “I think we’ve got it from here.”

After pulling its contents out and making sure that all of the pieces were there she stood up straight and released a deep breath.

“Well alright then. I’ll work with this guy when I get back.” Jetta said as she gestured toward the box parts. “Unless Zoey beats me to it?”

She then turned to Oscar. “Now are you a student too?”

"Been there, done that. Kind of wish I was still back there though." Oscar replied, looking at all the pieces that came with the television set and mentally putting it together anyways because he couldn't shut his brain off for even a moment. "Freelance Contract Programmer" Oscar answered, pulling his sandwich up to his mouth once more and taking a bite out of it. Once he swallowed, he took a moment to think about his options. Normally he wasn't one for small talk, but this was an introduction of sorts and deserved a bit of conversation to get going. "What's your major Jetta? Zoey, you a student as well?" Oscar asked, using their names as a way of ingraining them into his mind.

"I study computer programming actually. Not sure if it's my big calling though." Jetta said. She didn't necessarily fit in those classes. She remembers her freshman year when her accent was at it's thickest. It might have been her insecurities talking but she had a feeling her very white, very male, Silicon valley obsessed peers didn't think she could keep up. And while she hated every moment of her major, she was at least motivated by her desire to keep the fuck up.

"But I've also got design as a minor. Graphic, user interface... That's more my jam."

It's not for everyone." Oscar answered, chewing on his sandwich a little bit more. To be honest, he wasn't one that usually did this kind of conversation thing without a specific purpose in mind, and was starting to feel like he was intruding the longer he stood here. "Any specific art style you're pursuing, or more just getting your foot in the door?"

"I'm a sophomore at NYU," Zoey confirmed. Only then was she hearing about what major Jetta was in. Given that they were roommates now, it was probably good to know the basics, and it was actually possible that Jetta had shared that with her and Riley in the initial stages of this roommate setup, but she hadn't remembered. "Just studying communications for now. Not on that smart people computer stuff level like the two of you apparently are," she added with a laugh. And that was exactly why she wasn't going to attempt to set up that television. It probably wasn't as hard as she was making it out to be, but she wasn't into stuff like that to find it to be even the least bit exciting. Besides, after working a long day and being on her feet all shift, Zoey just wanted to take a shower, put on pajamas, and relax for a little bit. It was Friday, which meant that she could go out later on, but this was New York. The night life didn't even really begin until midnight, so she knew she had time to relax beforehand.

Hearing movement in the kitchen, Zoey slipped past Oscar and Jetta and towards the noise, where she found Riley. "Hey girl," she smiled. "It is cold as fuuuuccckk outside," she warned, though by the looks of it, it didn't appear like Riley was planning on going outside soon anyway. "Jetta's TV just came in the mail, and some dude is helping her set it up, by the way," she added, realizing that it was probably good to explain who that male voice in the other room was. Despite being introduced just a few seconds before, Zoey had already forgotten his name, though.

"I dunno, I've been drawing a lot of comic book characters lately," she hummed. At best she could mostly describe it as a western comic style a la The Walking Dead but less gory.

Jetta raised her brows and pursed her lips when Zoey walked off. The other girl never answered whether she'd help with the TV but based on the conversation in the kitchen Jetta knew her answer was a happy 'no thank you.' But it wasn't like it was just Jetta's TV that she'd be bringing in and setting up alone. Based on the group chat, everyone wanted it. And it was, as Jetta thought, supposed to a group thing. Nonetheless, she reined in whatever minor physical annoyance she displayed to offer a cheery enough parting with Oscar.

"Alright well," she huffed with exhaust. "I was gonna go snatch up some dinner. Haven't eaten all day. I'd treat you to a dollar slice but it seems like you've got your fill. Let me know though, we--" Well honestly she couldn't garuntee anything from Zoey. "Well I owe you one, for sure!" And with that Jetta rebundled herself and walked out the door, assuming that Oscar would at least follow on the way out of the apartment.

"Don't worry about it." Oscar answered, finishing his sandwich and making a mental note of the major that Zoey had said she was in, if only to not make the embarrasing mistake of asking for it again later on. Another girl seemed to enter the apartment, and it was quickly becoming aparent that he was sticking out like a sore thumb. Thankfully Jetta offered him a way out with the quick thanks and offer to return the favor some day. Oscar followed her out, having finished his sandwich and started to walk across the hall to his room. "If you decide you do need help with something, I live right there." Oscar informed her, pointing to his apartment door. With that being said, he gave her a small two finger salute and left her to her devices, entering his apartment with all the mail he had collected prior to the event with the tv.

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige
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Riley Paige
Hex Code: #8365A1
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As the food heated in the microwave, Riley rummaged through the fridge, looking for more that could fill her. There were some things, like a few oranges, and a small amount of milk that could serve a modest bowl of cereal. Neither seemed to compliment the food she was already eating though. It was looking like her backup would still be Chinese food, since she had enough of those leftovers to last her for the night, and the late night when she was sure to get hungry. Riley wasn't really a night owl, and actually preferred the mornings, but she wasn't immune to her own late nights, especially as a bartender. She'd managed to get off today, only because she'd worked News Years Eve. Sure, it was annoying have to sacrifice plans with her friends, but the handsome money she would receive certaintly softened the blow. While she was doing that, she heard some people walk through the door. It wasn't in Riley's nature to go out of her way to say hello, so since they weren't in the same room, and she was also doing something, it didn't seem necessary. Seeing Zoey come in, she offered a soft smile. "Hi. Yeah, I know. That's why I'm trying to stay in my bed," she chuckled. Riley had heard a man's voice, but didn't immediately jump to any conclusions. She was pretty relaxed as far as things went, and she didn't automatically go on the defensive side when she heard an unfamiliar voice. Just as soon as they had entered, they seemed to have left as well, as the chatter in the living room faded out after the door closed.

Though she didn't say anything, she lifted her chin slightly, remembering that Jetta had gotten a television. It had slipped her mind simply because she didn't care one way or the other if they had a TV in the living room. Riley was part of a large group of people who got their television needs from streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, or even piracy sites. After moving to the city, getting a TV was one of the last things on her list, but not after having to make many compromises with herself before realizing how irrelevant it really was for her. She was just so used to them being in living rooms that she went in thinking that she needed to have one. That wasn't to say she minded there being one, which was why she had agreed, because in her opinion, it really wasn't up to her. She couldn't think that someone would actually have a problem with someone else getting their own television, which was what Riley assumed it to be: her roommate's. Riley herself didn't plan on using it that often, but since it would be in the living room, she'd be quite dumbfounded if she were to find out that she and Zoey couldn't use it. Because she thought it went without saying, she was just assuming by this point that she and her roommate were also allowed to use it since it would be in a common area. Just as she had brought DVD's, she wouldn't dare think to not share them, otherwise, she would just keep them in her own bedroom. It was also her mindset that just because they had an asset in a shared space, didn't mean they were also splitting utilities equally. If there was a month with a high electricity, and Riley hadn't touched the television, she certainly wasn't paying for what she didn't use. If they had all pitched in for it, that would be a different story, but Riley didn't care one way or the other and was actually unaware that she had made it seem as though she actually wanted it. Therefore, it wasn't Riley's first thought to start helping set things up. She wouldn't refuse to give a hand if needed, but it was her understanding that she was just about to eat her dinner and enjoy the rest of her evening. Nevertheless, she still thought it was nice of Jetta. "That was nice of her. She seems sweet."

The alarm on the microwave beeped through the kitchen, the smell wafting out as she opened the door. What was once mouthwatering, had now turned into modest annoyance, and perhaps even the slightest bit of nausea. "Do you have any plans for this evening?" She was thinking about how after eating, she'd probably end up spending the rest of the day organizing her room, but instead of talking about that, she wondered what Zoey would be up to. "Or are you staying inside?" she asked, trying to make light conversation. Riley wasn't the kind of person who felt the need to be at the center of things, but she also wasn't the kind of person, either, who would purposely recluse into the background. She wasn't intentionally so quiet, and it was just a matter of her becoming transfixed in her surroundings, and wanting to make sure everyone was saying what they needed to say. Even more, she felt people could say things better than she could, and by the time she realized she hadn't really given much input into the conversation, it was a bit too late. Zoey wasn't a total stranger, though, which was quite comforting since it eased her nerves a bit. She had never lived with Zoey before, so there was still so unfamiliarity as far as having her as a roommate, but she liked the girl's energy, and she didn't seem like she would be much of a problem. Then again, it wasn't something Riley was actively worried about either. "Hopefully you have better dinner plans than me," she smirked, having resorted to sprinkling some spices in her rice just to give some novelty to the flavor. "I think this is my third day of eating this stuff?"

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige
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ZOEY . SAIDI
Hex Code: #551a8b
Zoey nodded as Riley commented on how Jetta seemed sweet. Luckily, despite it only being a few days in, Zoey was pretty content with her new living situation. The extended commute to work was a little annoying, but it wasn't a major concern. She was mostly just happy that her roommates seemed like normal people to live with, because even though she had been familiar with Riley before this week, she had never lived with her. It was easy to like someone as a friend when you weren't sharing the same space, so Zoey was glad that her opinion of the girl hadn't changed yet, and she doubted it would. Riley and Jetta both seemed like normal people, and Zoey could appreciate that. In general, though, she never had much trouble with getting along with people. She did have a big personality, and sometimes a big mouth with a sense of humor that not everyone always appreciated, but it was typically meant with good intentions. She wasn't a bad person to have as a roommate, either.

Chuckling, she glanced at Riley's Chinese food. The struggle was real sometimes, and Zoey knew that first hand. She got one free meal at work when she was waitressing, and though she usually took advantage of that to eat on her break midway through her shift (as she had done today), there were many occasions where she rationed it into two meals, and put half of it in a to-go box to eat that night for dinner. No one could deny that New York wasn't an expensive city to live in, and for any college student, that was all the more true. "Girl, I feel that on an intimate level," she laughed. "I think my bank account has conditioned my body into thinking it's full just from smelling food all day at work, that I never end up hungry anymore by the time I get home," she explained. It was honestly something she felt was true, too. She had eaten today around one o'clock, and though the sandwich was filling, she assumed that she should have felt more hungry than she did now. Unfortunately for her, though, she knew the full-feeling would be a short-lived blessing. It was always her luck that later in the night, around nine o'clock or so, she would end up getting a craving for something. It was usually something unhealthy too, and especially since it was a Friday, and Zoey hoped to be doing something involving drinking, she was sure she would end up getting drunk and throwing any health-related concerns to the wind with her eating habits. "I was thinking about suggesting Art Bar to Alexis and them," she said, referencing a girl and her typical group of friends that Zoey knew Riley was familiar with as well. "I've never been, but have heard good things about it, and now that it's literally like a minute's walk from here, I figured that it could be a good place to pre-game and stuff. If you're in the mood to come out, lemme know. I'm at that weird point where I'm halfway in the mood to get drunk, but then also want to curl up and bed and avoid the cold for the rest of my life," she explained with a chuckle.

She heard the front door close twice, a minute or so apart, and though she hadn't seen Jetta leave, she assumed she was gone from the silence. "We could always invite Jetta too. Probably 'good roommate' etiquette."

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Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Jetta BabinX
Dialogue Color ✦ #2d2491


Jetta couldn’t help but feel more than a little patronized. Sure, she made a mistake, but it wasn’t like she committed an offense so dire that it warranted the cold energy and disdain the guy was dishing out. Especially since she tried to address him as respectfully as possible considering her confusion. She moved to leave without another word, but in the process nearly ran into another blonde who skirted past her quickly, uttering a small ‘excuse me’ as she went.

“Oh I’m sorry!” Jetta rasped as she stepped out of her way, flashing her a smile out of courtesy. But her smile instantly fell when woman made the suggestion that Jetta was leaving the man’s apartment after an unpleasant hookup. She suppressed the laughter welling up from her gut, nearly losing it at the thought. White guys with face tattoos certainly weren’t her favorite genre of the male species. But things escalated when the guy, who could barely dignify Jetta with a single word, started to go off on the other girl, citing whatever drunken escapade she had fallen into in the past.

His narcissism was stinking up the hallway and Jetta was starting to wonder if it was a hallmark of the fifth floor to be so rude?

She certainly didn’t intend on sticking around to witness any more of these corny, painfully laughable, low-hanging insults. Jetta concluded that dialogue she was experiencing sounded like the calcified remains of an old, rejected Sex in the City script.

“Y’all are wild,” she laughed as she walked away, divorcing herself from the situation. When she reached the fourth floor and the appropriate door she knocked without the coy pageantry she performed earlier. She had enough and no longer cared to be cute, all she wanted was to eat this pizza.

“Hey y’all sorry I locked myself out,” she said between snickers as she knocked again.

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Riley Paige
Hex Code: #8365A1
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Riley was a self-proclaimed square, so she wasn't totally familiar with the bar Zoey was talking about. Of course, there was a strong probability that she had and it just faded from her memory. Riley wasn't the type to avoid going out, and she also didn't have an aversion from doing so either, but for a twenty-year-old, she definitely didn't fit the stereotype of draining money every weekend partying. It could just be so expensive, and then with her being a bartender, she always felt like she got her going out fix after a long shift. An unrealized amount of time would pass before she realized why she was feeling so deprived and it turned out to be because she hadn't gone out just to enjoy herself in so long, only feeding off the faux social filling that her job gave her. Because of that, and because she did plan on doing something else tonight, Riley was inclined to decline Zoey's offer. After a second thought, she realized that it had been a while since she'd gone out. Not a crazy amount of time. If she recalled correctly, it was some time just before Thanksgiving break. To some people, though, that was quite a while, but Riley had had those Hell semesters where she went even longer.

With it being a New Year as well, Riley felt more of a push to say yes. She hadn't really done much all break because she was so burnt out that all she wanted to do was eat and sleep (which was admittedly quite unhealthy), and the cold weather was even more incentive to hibernate inside until she was left with absolutely no choice but to leave--hence the superfluous amounts of take out she'd eaten in the past week. Now was as good a time as ever to stop listening to the voice in the back of her head and to start taking risks. Maybe not risks so much as taking her social wellbeing into more consideration. Riley had a very low threshold when it came to her social meter. It was far lower and shorter, so it didn't take much to quench her needs, and it took a while for those needs to deprave. However, because she so rarely felt a strong inclination to go out of her way to interact with people outside of mandated occurrences (classes, work, tutoring), by the time she did get to that point, she was so deprived she barely had the energy to go out. But she didn't want to keep getting to that low of point. It meant she was far too late. So instead of listening to her mind and her body which was telling her she would be find with just eating Chinese and watching Netflix while she cleaned of room, she smiled and nodded her head.

"I wouldn't mind inviting her. That actually sounds like a lot of fun. I should probably get out of the apartment at some point anyway. I think I'm forgetting what it's like to breathe fresh air." She did have to work tomorrow night, which meant she really shouldn't go crazy tonight, but after closer inspection, Riley decided that was her trying to look for an easy way out. She was twenty years old. She was supposed to make stupid mistakes every once in a while, and her body would bounce back far sooner than she gave it credit for. If she was still hung by her shift tomorrow night, she'd probably need to call out anyways and go to the hospital instead. "A night out seems fun," she reaffirmed, before thinking about what a mess her room was and therefore what a nightmare it would be to find something to wear. Instead of complaining about that, though, she looked to Zoey. "Do you know what you would wear?" She didn't have the chance to ask her what time the others were planning on going out. It wouldn't be anytime soon, she knew, but she was still the kind of person who liked having hard data to go off of. It wouldn't be the end of the world if Zoey said they were playing it by ear, and it wouldn't have caused Riley any anxiety, but when the opportunity was presented, she liked knowing what future plans looked like.

Riley glanced at Zoey then, her face clearly perplexed. Was that Jetta? It sounded like it. Riley set her food down to go to the door, offering a faint smile. As she stepped out the way to let the girl in, she noticed the food in her hand. "Wow, that was really fast. Did you teleport?" She must have just lost track of time because she could have sworn her roommate had just left. Riley wasn't familiar with the area, but it did peeve her when she saw Jetta's pizza since she had no idea there was a place that close to the apartment. Given how good it smelled, it made her want to toss her leftovers out even more. "It's Jetta," she said, entering the kitchen, but glancing behind her to see if Jetta was still there, and subtly hinting that she could come and join in on the conversation. "We were just talking about going to...Art Bar?" Riley looked at Zoey, her head pivoted in question as she wasn't sure if that was the name Zoey had given her. "Do you want to come? It might be easier to brave the feral cold in larger numbers."

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Jetta BabinX
Dialogue Color ✦ #2d2491

Jetta offered a light chuckle in response to Riley’s teleportation comment. But she didn’t miss the other girl’s eye on her pizza as she meandered through the door.

“Dollar slice a block down,” she informed her with a resolute nod, almost excited to share the information. And it was true that Jetta got a sense of satisfaction from sharing thrifty life solutions with fellow college students. “There’s also this place ‘round the corner where you can get a bowl of soup for cheap with a big ol’ piece of challah bread on the side.”

As she said this she moved for a dip into her room, a closed door to eat behind alone. After all, if this day was any indication, socializing wasn’t her forte this year. But she hesitated when Riley seemed to non-verbally invite her into the kitchen. Jetta swiveled on her toes, moving toward them with listening ears.

“Art bar?” she repeated. Jetta’s clarification was almost comical -- she was perched forward like an elderly woman trying to understand her grandkids.

“Oh that sounds fun,” she swooned, her toothy smile accompanying an eager nod. “I’ll go with. What time were y’all thinking?”

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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ZOEY . SAIDI
Hex Code: #551a8b
While Zoey wasn't truly hungry, in the sense that her body actually needed food, smelling the pizza and Chinese food had her mind trying to convince her that she needed to eat. Had she smelled burgers or chicken or the food that they served at the restaurant she worked at, then her body would have felt as turned off as it had all shift, but the difference in the aroma had her mouth watering. Jetta's reference to it being dollar pizza made her want it even more, because that was something that her wallet could agree with too. Even for that price, it was hard to settle for dollar pizza in a city that had so many amazing pizzerias, for only a dollar or two more. New York was a unique and noteworthy place for many reasons, but after living here for a year, Zoey was confident that their pizza and bagels were two of their top accomplishments. Eating at places in North Carolina when she went back home on breaks just didn't taste right anymore, and she found herself constantly being "that person", talking endlessly about their own experiences and how much better things were where they lived, when she was home with her childhood friends.

"Y'all have definitely walked past this place," Zoey reassured them, as both of them seemed unfamiliar with the place. It was quite possible that they actually hadn't walked past it, given that they had all only been living here for a few days, but still, it was that close where Zoey was sure that they had, even if it was most likely that they hadn't noticed. "It's literally right around the corner on 8th Avenue... right next to a laundromat, I think. I've never been there, so I can't vouch for it like that, but apparently they take fake IDs like it's nobody's business, so I'm willing to give it a shot." Zoey had no real answer to the question that Riley had asked before Jetta came in, about what she would wear, or the question that Jetta had just posed, about what time they would be going. She hadn't even begun to think about what to wear. Normally, Zoey liked dressing nicely when she went out at night, even if that didn't always mean wearing stilettos and a dress. She liked to wear cool and trendy clothes, and didn't have any specific and set style. However, it was really cold tonight, and she also had to keep that in mind, especially since she didn't like wearing a jacket while out and about, drinking. Coat checks, when offered, were a waste of money in her eyes, and last year, she had stupidly left a jacket behind at a bar after taking it off and leaving it in a booth at some point, and she wasn't going to risk that happening again. So, she had to wear something with decent coverage, that would also be cute, and she knew that that was going to pose a dilemma. Thinking about it now, she constructed a possible outfit in her head, but it wasn't set in stone. "Probably jeans and... I don't know what on top. It's cold as heeeeelllll out there, but I don't think I have any cute sweaters that would match my vibe, so I don't know. I mean, I'm gonna keep it pretty casual. Alexis was talking about trying to hit up a promoter to get us into Gansevoort, but girl, you know I'm not pretty enough for them to accept my fake ID there," she laughed.

The nightlife culture in New York City was what you would expect it to be: exclusive. At least, most of the clubs were. There were countless numbers of bars, so even underage, it was possible to find ones to get into, but the trendy clubs were nearly impossible to get into, especially underage. You either had to be willing to fuck a promoter, have enough money to pay your way in, be really pretty, or have enough connections and power in your name that you could get in, just with that. Zoey wasn't an ugly girl, but she also didn't fit into the obviously-beautiful typical standards. She wasn't tall, she had thick eyebrows that constantly seemed to want to become a unibrow despite her never-ending tweezing and waxing, full lips, and brown skin. She wasn't necessarily the type of person you'd think would ever make it as a Victoria's Secret Angel, and for what it was worth, Zoey was fine with that. She was happy with her appearance... or as happy as a girl her age could be. She tried to embrace her flaws now, more than anything. Still, though, knowing that she would likely be the first to get rejected at the door of a club, standing next to a girl like Riley who was tall, dark, and gorgeous, or a girl like Jetta, who had that whole coveted blonde thing going for, was frustrating sometimes. Plus, unlike her referenced friend, Alexis, Zoey wasn't willing to suck a guy off just to get into a club. She liked being cool and trendy, but she wasn't willing to compromise her morals that far just for a night out.

"Anddddd.... I don't think a time was even mentioned," she admitted, leaning back against the counter. "What would work for you guys? Maybe nine, or some time around then? We could always pregame here for a little first. Invite some people over, and stuff." Looking to Jetta, she smirked playfully. "Maybe you can invite the TV guy. He seemed really into us," she added sarcastically. "What was his name? Arnold or something?"

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Riley Paige
Hex Code: #8365A1
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When Zoey mentioned going out, Riley didn't know she meant going out. A few drinks at a bar sounded fun enough, but also tame enough, for her to not mind resisting the ever strong call of her warm bed--at least, not mind as much. It didn't surprise her, though, because they were talking about Alexis, and it would be Riley's own fault to sew the words Alexis and tame together in the same sentence. Still, though, Riley told herself that she was going to go out regardless, because she deserved a night of fun. Whether it was at an exclusive place like Gansevoort or something seemingly tame such as the Art Bar, or even just a few drinks in the apartment, Riley wouldn't have cared. She was quite an easygoing person, even if she had strong preferences for one thing over the other. If it wasn't truly important in the long run, she typically wouldn't push for it. To her, few things deserved to be treated as the end of the world. This sometimes caused her to seem passive, but she was quick to shut down anybody who construed that into believing that could get over on her. What she ended up wearing depended on where they ended up. She wasn't going to dress up if they'd just end up at a bar sipping beers and cocktails. On the other hand, she also wasn't really up for dressing all out either. Her closet was essentially non-existent since her room was more like a storage unit than an actual place you go to lay your head.

"All right, just let me know. I might just try to get a shower in or something," Riley mentioned. Riley looked to Jetta as Zoey spoke to her, noting the sarcasm. She hadn't seen the guy that she was referencing, nor had she heard anything that would make Riley understand Zoey's sarcasm, but nevertheless, she grinned and waited for Jetta's response.

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Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Ruby Barr
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Hex: #A52A2A
Kamon and Griffin appeared from their rooms within seconds of each other, sending a smile to Ruby's face. She was busy washing her hands as they pitched in to get everything unloaded and the table set and ready, and she appreciated that, as was made apparent in her smile growing just a bit bigger. "Not an army," she answered pointedly, though still smiling, as she corrected him to say, "Just my two beautiful roommates," in a cheerful manner. Ruby was typically a happy person. She saw the glass as being half-full, even when others didn't, and that was mostly because she knew how blessed she was. She took things in stride and always tried to see how small events, mishaps, and problems only made up a fraction of the bigger picture in life. She didn't let a lot bother her, and that was easy to do when she was usually more focused on making sure that everyone else's problems were taken care of first. Many would call her a good person for that, and she was a good person (overall), but it was something that was more of a personality trait for her, than an intentional act seeking recognition. It was how her brain worked, because she enjoyed problem-solving, when they weren't her problems to solve. "...Who hopefully have army-sized appetites, because yeah, maybe I did order a little bit too much," she admitted, laughing as she looked at everything once it was un-bagged. Oh well, she thought, knowing that it was better to have too much than too little, especially when leftovers were always a welcomed treat the next day.

She took out a bottle of Villa Nozzole Chianti Classico, a personal favorite when it came to a decent price range, and poured herself a glass before signaling that the others were free to take some as well. "My day was pretty good! After spending so many years in hospitals, you'd think I'd be used to it by now, but it's still surprising to me just how much rampant illness is in the winter compared to the warmer months," she said, scrunching up her nose at the thought of the little boy who had been in her office earlier that day, seemingly in a nonstop coughing fit for the entirety of their session. He was only four years old, and there due to separation and sensory issues, in what Ruby believed to be preliminary signals of a possible high functioning autism case. He was young enough where his inability to grasp how germy he was was excusable, but Ruby still disliked the idea of getting sick herself. "I mean, it makes sense," she continued, really just reasoning to herself out loud, since she knew that neither of the others were as interested in the logistics behind it as she was, "Because of how much easier it is for the flu viruses to replicate in the dry winter air, and then on top of that, how everyone's inside, breathing in each other's air when it's cold out, but it's still kind of skeevy when you see five kids a day, and four of them seem like they should be at their pediatrician instead of their psych," she laughed.

Just as soon as she sat down, ready to serve herself, she remembered something, and found herself popping back up. "I want to hear about both of your days in a minute, but I actually just remembered that I've been meaning to invite one of our neighbors, Jetta, over. I hope you guys don't mind? She seemed really sweet, and she saved me from breaking my back a few days ago trying to stupidly carry three suitcases up the staircase at once, so I'm going to see if she's home and hungry." With that, and hopefully no obvious objections from the others, Ruby left the apartment, leaving the door unlocked on her way out. She was pretty sure that as she had walked the girl out to her own apartment after receiving the help, she had seen her go into... 4A? Ruby hoped so, because that was the door she was knocking on.

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Character Portrait: Oscar Teenson Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Jetta BabinX
Dialogue Color ✦ #2d2491

Jetta listened quietly as Zoey described Art Bar. And honestly, even after she talked her through it, Jetta still had no sense of where this place was. Nonetheless, she nodded anyway.

Like the others, the blonde wasn’t completely keen on the idea of going to a club club club, particularly the kind where the bouncers had a strict, yet very nebulous, “Instagram models only” policy. She tried to live that life her freshman year, running with a couple of former friends. They were 3 weeks into the school year, blonde, skinny and white with fake IDs fresh off the press. They were a trio who was eerily invincible in the world of nightlife. But Jetta quickly learned that those scenes weren’t her pace.

She stopped going to clubs like that for a few reasons, and if it wasn’t her unsavory experiences with the people that put the nail in the coffin, it was her eventual realization that she was benefiting from and complicit in the very systems that imposed narrow standards of beauty. So of course Jetta twitched her brows a bit at Zoey’s quick comment about supposedly not being pretty enough to get into clubs with fakes.

When her friends back in high school made similar comments, Jetta was predisposed to swaddling them in some campy, girl-power, fuck the patriarchy sort of monologue. But because Jetta’s relationship with Zoey was so new, she held her tongue and washed her face of any worry. Besides, based on how the other girl moved on from the subject without any regretful lingering, it didn’t seem like that deep of a comment.

Jetta had a tendency to over analyze, but her racing thoughts were eventually interrupted when she noticed that both roommates were staring at her with playful smirks.

“Fuck, what?” she thought, racking her brain for the last few words her ears managed to catch.

“Ohh you mean Oscar?” she laughed throwing her head back in suppressed laughter. “Oh yeah I think he reaaaally digs us,” she hummed with rolled eyes, thinking about how dumb she acted in front of him earlier in the day. “Honestly why not though? He was nice. I can go over and knock.”

Then a knock on the door.

“Oh! Well, I’ll get that,” Jetta laughed before leaving the kitchen. “Maybe he’s come to declare his love.”

She opened the door to meet eyes with Ruby, a woman she met a few days ago in the lobby. Just how Oscar helped Jetta, Jetta assisted Ruby with her things during move in. She thought the woman was rather nice, and seemed to have an interesting profession (at least based on their brief conversation that day.)

“Oh hey! Ruby right? How you doing neighbor?” Jetta asked with a toothy grin, eyes arched into her signature smize and hands perched on her hips.

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Jetta BabinX
Dialogue Color ✦ #2d2491

Jetta raised her brows with mild surprise. She definitely didn’t get mean vibes from Ruby when she first met her, but with the less than friendly encounter she had on the fifth floor, the pureness of Ruby’s offer pretty much shook Jetta. Nothing was more pure (to a college student especially) than the promise a free meal. And Jetta was astounded at how her day was turning around.

“Oh wait, that’s so nice of you!” she admitted with a light laugh. She knew better than to ask ‘Are you sure?’ because, let’s be honest, she didn’t want to risk having the offer detracted. Not that anyone would genuinely do that, but Jetta never wanted to reject hospitality since it was so scarce in a city like this.

“Y’all wanna put them leftovers away?” Jetta asked peering over her shoulder to look in Riley's direction.
“Our neighbor Ruby invited us to grub with her roommates. Italian!” She moved on the other side of the door and opened it wide, making way for Ruby to be seen by the others.

“These are my roommates Zoey and Riley by the way.”

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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ZOEY . SAIDI
Hex Code: #551a8b
Zoey nodded in response to Riley. She wanted to shower herself. Being on her feet all day often made her feel sweaty, even if she hadn't actually worked herself into a sweat. Being in a restaurant too, often left her feeling like she smelled like food, so between the two of those, even if she wasn't actually as dirty as she thought, she always felt the need to shower after working. She would probably try to take one too before going out, and until the knock at the door drove her attention there, she thought that showering would actually be the next stop on her agenda. After a few seconds, Jetta swung the door open, revealing the girl that she had been talking to. She was a pretty girl, probably in her mid to late twenties, who looked sweet just on the surface. Once it was revealed that she was there to invite them over for dinner, she seemed even nicer, and even though Zoey wasn't starving, like Jetta was internally reasoning as well, it was hard to turn down a free meal. Besides that, Zoey was also a social person by nature, and she liked meeting new people. Moving into a new place was a transition in itself, so getting to know a neighbor who looked and seemed normal was something that was appealing to her.

"It'll be a cold day in hell before I say no to Italian food," Zoey piped up with a playful grin, opting against saying free Italian food, out of fear of offending Ruby, even if the free part was a key factor. "So I'm definitely in," she declared, before looking more directly at Ruby and offering a wave as she said, "I'm Zoey," to distinguish which of the two she was from Jetta's initial introduction. She was surprised that Jetta had somehow managed to make friends so quickly, but that was her over-assuming the depth of this relationship between the two. The surprise wasn't meant in a jealous or spiteful way either, since Jetta was clearly very friendly and nice. Making friends early on definitely wasn't a bad thing, and if anything, Zoey was glad that she was going to be living with someone who was good at making connections. She didn't mind having to be that person herself, but it was nice to know that other people thought of Jetta as being a good person, because it only reaffirmed her own thought that she was lucky to have two pretty normal roommates.

She excused herself from the group for mere seconds, as she slipped down the short hallway to her bedroom to put her shoes back on. "Are you one of those people who are stellar cooks, because if so, I'm gonna have to pay you for some lessons," she said with a chuckle, as she approached Ruby and Jetta. "My mother will not let me live down the fact that I can't make a piece of toast without burning it, so coming home with an A+ Italian recipe would definitely win me some favorite-child points," she said, in an effort to put forth some friendly conversation.

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Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Riley Paige
Hex Code: #8365A1
Outfit
At the sound of Italian, Riley promptly lowered her fork back onto her plate. Her stomach clenched in response, newly hungry at the sound of something different than Chinese. After Zoey agreed to come over, Riley felt less shy and inclined to politely decline.Her line of thought was also the same: a free meal was basically a call from Heaven, but at this point, she was so sick of eating the same thing, that she would have paid this stranger for the meal. Granted, she only had about five dollars to give, so she wasn't sure how far that would get her, but chances are, Riley would have paid for a loaf of bread by this point. "Riley," she said, lifting her hand a little bit, although it was clear by that point that the only other person in the room she could be was Riley. Noting her own hiccup, or what she perceived to be one, she half smiled. "Hi. I'm in too. I'd eat a hot dog bun by this point, I think, so thank you." Just the thought of a different meal had her giddy with excitement, but the way she was calmly piling her leftovers away, it was nearly impossible to tell. Inside, though, she was grinning ear to ear like a child waiting for some big surprise. She had heard Ruby's voice, but because she wasn't focusing on the conversation, Riley didn't hear exactly all that the girl had mentioned having. Thinking back, Riley could understand that Ruby had done so, but she just couldn't remember what the girl had said, but she told herself that it seemed like a few things, which was enough to get her excited. By the time she was done, Zoey was back. It took Riley a second to realize where she'd gone, but once she did, she saw that she was about five seconds away from walking out without any shoes on.

Okay, you need to calm down. While Zoey made conversation with Ruby, Riley dipped into her bedroom, hopping on one foot to keep from falling when she walking into a box on the ground. She skidded through a few bags on the ground. It wouldn't have been loud enough to hear from outside, but from her room, it was enough of a ruckus to cause her a bit of embarrassment, thinking the others had heard. If there was ever a telltale sign of the modern day twenty-something, it was losing your wits end at the sound of a free meal. Riley slipped on a pair of boots, wriggling her heel in her right shoe as she walked with an odd gait through the hallway, trying to get her foot situated. Back at the front, she finally got a good look at Ruby. Obviously a pretty girl, and one who looked to be a few years older than me. Whether or not this was actually true, Riley wasn't sure. It could have easily been the attire or the girl's demeanor, or a combination of things. Nevertheless, Riley could say that she didn't get off vibes from her, but she was definitely a little biased because Ruby was saving her from another tragic meal. She could have been dressed in a trash bag with sticks in her hair, and Riley would still think Ruby was some sort of saint. As they made their way to the girl's door, Riley recalled the tail end of the conversation. She knew they were past that point, but she wanted to contribute something. Even though most times she failed to realize just how quiet she was, when she got in the right mood, she actually became quite keen to talking, and looked for gateways to do so. Now, the mood was simply explained by this upcoming meal. It was partly her wanting to seem grateful, since explicitly saying so just didn't seem enough for her, likely because getting the meal was a bigger deal to her than it was to Ruby to offer it. "So, did I hear that correctly? You cooked everything?" She turned to Zoey, grinning some, and mouth the word 'Goals.'

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Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Ruby Barr
Outfit
Hex: #A52A2A
Ruby was happy that Jetta merely accepted her invitation, so when the door was pushed aside, and her two roommates also accepted the invitation, she was even happier, and it showed on her face. Not only did they truly have enough food for Jetta, her roommates, and probably at least another apartment's worth of people too, given Carmine's portion sizes, but she was also just quite happy at the idea of getting to meet these new people, and welcome them into her home. It wasn't much of a home yet, and to be honest, Ruby was never very involved in the idea of extreme decorating or anything, but she was sure that after living there for a few more weeks, her new apartment would begin to have a more homey vibe. Gatherings like this, especially, would only add to that, and that had been part of the reason for why she had decided to do it with her own roommates to begin with. An official "family dinner" seemed like a necessary step in christening a new home. "Yay, great!" she beamed, once the invitation had been accepted by the three of them.

When the question came up about cooking, Ruby laughed. She was good at a lot of things, but cooking definitely wasn't one of them. In her defense, she wasn't as bad as Zoey described herself as being. Her flaws in the field mostly stemmed from a lack of experience. Her mother was a great cook, so she had never had to learn on her own how to make anything more than the basics. Once she began living on her own, she had been guilty of indulging in take-out on the regular, because thankfully, her budget did allow for it. She could cook the basics to get by in between, so things like pasta, or simple chicken dishes, were within her skill range, but there was no way that she could cook a whole meal like this. Especially not after working for most of the day."I probably could just lie and say that I cooked it all, so you guys get a good first impression of me, but I'm sure one of my roommates would rat me out," she admitted with a smile, as she headed out of their apartment. "It's all from Carmine's. I know, I know, 'what a touristy restaurant!', but even after living in New York for all twenty-eight years of my life, it's still one of my favorites." There were so many "touristy" things in New York, that Ruby was probably over-estimating non-native New Yorker's knowledge of what was touristy or not, so there was probably a fair chance that these girls had never even heard of Carmine's, and wouldn't have known the difference anyway.

Her apartment was literally only feet away, so it didn't take long for them to reach it, and Ruby stepped in first, but lingered by the doorway as she motioned them inside. With the open layout of the apartment, her roommates at the table were in view within a few steps into the apartment, so she smiled at them immediately, as if to signal that she had been successful, even though that was probably obvious by the influx of people. "So, these are my roommates, Griffin and Kamon," she introduced, before continuing by pointing at the counter, where the food was laid out, "And the food's all up on the counter, so feel free to make yourselves a plate! I'm not sure if you guys are legal or not, but if you are, there's wine, and if not, there should be water, and seltzer and probably some soda in the fridge, too! Help yourselves!" Their kitchen table only had four chairs, which Ruby hadn't seen as a problem until right now, but she was a quick thinker, and only had to excuse herself for a minute before she returned, dragging a chair from her bedroom desk, and one from the living room, into empty spots at the table. "And I promise that I don't usually talk this much, and these two can vouch for that," Ruby insisted, though truly, she probably was the most talkative (or at least peppy) out of the three, "But I'd love to know more about you guys!" she insisted, resuming her own seem.

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Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Jetta BabinX
Dialogue Color ✦ #2d2491

It was funny how life took a turn. How one minute you were crammed in your room, filled with hunger and the next you were being given free food and wine. Jetta tried to restrain herself from making a B-line straight to the pasta. Instead, she lingered for a bit, waving at Ruby’s too roommates. Didn’t stare for too long though. She was already intimidated by them based on her assumption that they were much more mature than she and her roommates were.

It was no surprise that she felt like a bit of an infant. Even though Jetta was a junior in college and of legal drinking age, Ruby’s offer of seltzer to the kiddos in the building reminded Jetta more and more that Ruby was a grown ass woman. The blonde was definitely going to partake in the wine, though she wondered if her roommates were gonna give up the goat and opt for something else. For pre-game’s sake, she certainly hoped not.

“I’m Jetta,” she announced. She attempted to swallow her insecurity and continued. “I’m a junior at NYU. I’m an illustrator too, I think.”

She put a ton of emphasis on ‘I think’ and chuckled. She felt uncomfortable calling herself a full blown artist. Even though drawing and design made her much happier than programming, it always came second to the more “responsible” focus.
As she introduced herself she moved toward the food, skipping the salad.

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Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Ruby Barr
Outfit
Hex: #A52A2A
Even if she would never describe herself in such a way, Ruby definitely had some maternal tendencies in her. She didn't know where they really came from, since she didn't have any younger siblings, and never had to take care of anyone. Her brother was a few years older than her, and mature in his own right, and her parents had always treated her as a capable child, so she wasn't coddled either. It was something that came naturally to her though, and probably went hand-in-hand with her interest in helping other people. She liked to see that people were taken care of, and that was why, although her plate was full from filling it earlier, she waited, watching intently as the new girls approached the food. She didn't want to become consumed in her own meal before making sure that they were all taken care of, and part of that maternal instinct in her had her considering standing back up and actually helping to spoon out sizable portions onto their plate, to prevent them from only taking a little out of consideration. She resisted however, though her eyes remained focused on the girls with interest and curiosity.

At Jetta's comment about being an illustrator, she smiled, kicking Kamon gently under the table, almost as if to ensure that she was paying attention. "Oooh, hear that, Kamon? Jetta's an illustrator too!" she piped up, flashing Kamon a smile that basically asked her to forgive her from forcing these interactions. Kamon wasn't unfriendly, but she also didn't see her as the type of person who would necessarily love interacting with strangers, even if she wasn't unsociable and could if she wanted to. "Kamon's an artist too!" she offered. "And probably one of the best tattoo artists in New York." That was probably an overstatement, only simply considering her age and experience level, and how many well-known tattoo artists were based in the city, but Ruby wouldn't be Ruby without throwing out compliments when she got the chance. She enjoyed hyping people up, and was sincere about it, even if others wouldn't believe her. "And you two?" she said, looking to the other two girls then with a curious, yet intrigued look.

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Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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KAMON LEAVITT
Hex Code: #78A47B

e
Griffin appeared out the room soon after she did, and Kamon continued to listen intently to Ruby describing her day as she continued to empty the bags onto the counter space. Soon enough she had her own plate of food ready to be devoured, but she stopped short of stuffing her mouth whenever Ruby had mentioned bringing a neighbor, Jetta, over to join them.

Although it was nice to get a little social interaction into the day, especially since she hadn't left her room since she's been awake, she was just the slightest bit apprehensive of eating dinner with a stranger. Though she didn't protest Ruby's decision and simply shrugged, watching as Ruby has stepped outside of the apartment.

Kamon was even more surprised whenever three people, not just one, ended up joining them in the apartment, but she quickly told herself to suck it up and try to appear to at least look less off-putting as she usually did. She decided to skip the wine for the night, as she'd have to keep her wits about her around her new guests and not make a total fool of herself.

Who knew? Maybe she would even make a new friend out of this sudden madness that seemed to have engulfed their apartment.

She took a good long look at Jetta as she introduced herself, giving her a slight wave before turning back to her plate to continue eating, feeling no need to speak since Ruby had already done a good enough job at introducing her and Griffin. They seemed like nice enough people, but Kamon was never one to make quick judgments of people, even if those judgments were positive in nature.

As Ruby nudged her under the table and began to speak, Kamon almost had to stop herself from choking on her food at her outrageous compliment. "Calling me one of the best tattoo artists in New York is beyond an overstatement, but I'll graciously take the compliment." Hearing that Jetta also drew was at least something that they had in common; perhaps she'd strike up a conversation about it later on. Turning towards Griffin, Kamon gave him a sly smirk. "Well don't you feel lucky, being the only man in a room filled with women." It was an obvious joke, Griffin probably felt more uncomfortable than anything else, but all the two of them did was poke fun at each other.

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Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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ZOEY . SAIDI
Hex Code: #551a8b
As expected, given the food that Ruby described, the apartment smelled divine when Ruby opened the door and welcomed them inside. One would have thought that Zoey hadn't eaten all day with how fast her mouth started watering, and even she was embarrassed with just how quickly she went from being not hungry, to ready to devour a plate full of food, just because she knew it was free. If this was a school sponsored event, like the ones certain clubs sometimes held where they would offer free bagels or pizza to certain students, Zoey would have made the most of it and ate some there, and packed a plate to go, too. Because this was a more personal event, with people she was trying to make a better first impression with (and maybe even a friendship with, her optimistic side reminded!), she felt more compelled to be polite and gracious. After all, aside from it reflecting on her, she also still believed that Jetta had to have had a more solid relationship with Ruby than she did in reality, and she didn't want to embarrass her roommate by acting greedy.

Jetta went first, and luckily since her introduction wasn't too impressive (and not in a mean way, it was just that there wasn't much to brag about when you were still in college), Zoey didn't feel intimidated by offering a similar one. "I go to NYU too, but I'm a sophomore, and much to my parents' dismay, just a communications major," she said with a small laugh as she poked fun at herself. It was true, though. Not only were her parents iffy about going into so much debt just to go to school in New York, but they also felt like by getting a communications degree, she was going into so much debt for nothing. If she had a dollar for every time they told her that she needed to go into nursing, or engineering, or pre-med, or something with a guaranteed career path, she felt like she would be a millionaire. "I work as a waitress at a little place by NYU, and I'm pretty boring otherwise," she finished with another chuckle. She wanted to ask Ruby what she did, partly out of the desire to be feel polite by returning the question, but also out of sheer curiosity. She looked like she was in her late twenties, and the guy sitting at the table beside her looked around that age too, if not a good few years older, so she was sure that they had careers by now. She wasn't going to cut Riley off though, especially because she felt like Riley was interesting enough to have some useful things to share (even if that was more of her projecting her appreciation of Riley than factually believing that she was that much more interesting than herself or Jetta). Besides that, her eyes were now on the food choices in front of her.

A few steps away from the table, at the counter, she fawned over the large trays of food. If she had felt awkward a minute before about overstepping by eating as much as her stomach could handle, then seeing these portions definitely silenced that part of her brain, a bit. While her stomach told her that all it wanted was pasta, cheese, and more pasta, she decided that she wanted to appear at least a little healthy, so as well as adding a little bit of everything else to her plate, she added some salad as well. And then there was the dilemma with the wine. Ruby had indirectly said that she didn't want to be providing alcohol to minors (which only reassured Zoey that she had to be a bit older than them, and definitely out of college). It was actually kind of sweet that she was old enough to be concerned and responsible, and it did make her feel an ounce of guilt as she poured herself a glass, and then one for Riley, because she wasn't going to be the lying asshole alone. She realized after the fact, that if they did the math, her being a sophomore would probably contradict with her being twenty-one, but it was too late now, as she motioned silently to Riley that the extra glass she had poured was for her.

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Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Riley Paige
Hex Code: #8365A1
Outfit
As expected, the apartment greeted her with a strong fragrance that left her mouth watering, an instinct she forgot she had. At the sound of wine, Riley suppressed a smile, although it barely would have been registered anyway since she already had such a muted reaction to everything. She passed a glance to Zoey, grinning internally because she was most certainly going to be twenty-one tonight, and once Zoey poured their glasses, it was clear that her roommate was on the same page as her. She shot an eager smile at her, one that would really only be worn by someone who was doing something they weren't supposed to be doing. "Oh, and I'm Riley. NYU too. I'm studying film with a, uh, pre-med track and a minor in French" And it was about as chaotic as it sounded. She wasn't at all forced to do pre-med, but she did have an interest, and while it might take her a bit longer to get out of school since she was realizing she was going to have to start balancing school, work, and her sanity, she did enjoy what he was doing in school. Her minor in French, whether required or not, was something that would have stayed. She didn't just do it for the looks or because she'd been studying it since elementary school, so she might as well get a degree in it. Especially now, it made her feel closer to where she was from, of which she knew very little about, asides from it being a beautiful, small, French-speaking island. Riley glanced about the table quickly while she prepared her plate, making sure to only take the smallest of portions so that she didn't seem like a piggy and then inevitably end up wasting the food. She wouldn't toss it out, but she also didn't want it to seem like she had planned on not finishing so that she could take things home. "This all smells really good," she offered quietly, wanting to say something of substance since she was now feeling particularly shy. It was an odd situation, to be fair. She didn't necessarily mind meeting new people, but breaking breads was quite a forward step. So even though they were clearly invited over to eat, Riley was still very present of her role as stranger and guest, and wanted to be as polite as possible.

Even without all of that, she felt slightly uncomfortable because of the vibes she was getting from the Ruby's two roommates. It was interesting that someone quiet like Riley would perceive two seemingly quiet people as offputting, but she understood that she'd only been inside for a few seconds, so she wasn't quick to judge. Nevertheless, that objectification didn't ease her nerves or her perception anymore, but she didn't want to be rude either. Her next best compromise was to ask her question, but when she did, to just look at Ruby. Ruby was obviously the most endearing of the bunch, and Riley felt naturally drawn to her, if only because the girl did seem so inviting. "What about you all? You don't look like undergrads," she said with a small, nervous chuckle. She glanced at Zoey, not realizing how much she was looking at the girl compared to her other roommate. Because it was such a novel situation, it was quite natural to gravitate to who you knew best, and in a normal situation, Riley didn't Zoey all too well, only well enough for her to consider her more than an acquaintance, but still a friend. Now, though, it was easiest for Riley to turn to Zoey as though she knew her well, and it wasn't to be fake, it was just a natural gravitation. Zoey was the most familiar one out of the bunch, so it made sense that she would stick by her side the most and the easiest. "I mean, Italian dinners definitely aren't a norm. At least not for us," she smirked, looking between her own roommates. "The closest I get to a pasta dish comes in an orange packet for a couple of cents."

Riley took her spot at the end of the table, sipping lightly on her glass of wine. She didn't look half as nervous as she felt, and in fact, she was holding herself with a lot of poise. It was likely because she was so conscious of herself that she innately became more in control, despite feeling the opposite. Riley took another prim sip before lightly placing it on the table. In all honesty, she hated red wine. It had a weird after taste and a grittiness to it. Whenever people spoke about sweet wines, it still tasted like sour grapes to her, but she wasn't going to wince tonight. She figured it was an acquired taste you developed as you got older, and she wanted to feel like anything but a broke twenty-year-old on her third (fourth?) day of Chinese food, even if just for a little bit. So if drinking a glass of wine she had no taste for involved that, then so be it. She might even have a second glass. Trying to be as discreet as possible, she fumbled with her phone on her lap, looking swiftly from it as soon as she was done. "It's so cold out. My friend was thinking it was going to snow, but I don't think it's on the forecast."

To: Zoey
i'm not crazy. we're way out of our league, right? i feel like i'm on a job interview

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Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Ruby Barr
Outfit
Hex: #A52A2A
Upon hearing the three girls' brief descriptions of themselves, Ruby concluded that they had to know each other through school. She wasn't far off, since Zoey and Riley knew each other through mutual friends at the school, but she wouldn't have guessed that Jetta had met them by chance through a Facebook housing group. It wasn't entirely surprising though. NYU was a big school, and New York was an even bigger city, so it would certainly be an ignorant thought to assume that everyone in a school like NYU knew each other. "You'll find your way," she assured Zoey with a confident nod. Luckily for her, she knew what she wanted to do when she was an undergraduate student. She knew that becoming a psychiatrist was her end goal. There was no plan B, no uncertainties, because she didn't need one. She knew what the job entailed, and she knew that it was a perfect fit for her. She was a unique case, in that sense, and in a lucky way. She knew that most people changed their minds and majors often in undergrad. A lot of people didn't know what they wanted to be after school was over with, and though it wasn't something she could relate to on a personal level, it was something that she understood. She understood how heavy the weight of a decision like a career choice was, and how it was a lot of pressure to put on kids who were only just beginning to get to make choices on their own at all. You went from having to ask for permission to use the bathroom in high school, to a few months later, being expected to choose a career path... one that would typically decide the fate of your entire future. It was a big decision, and so even if Zoey laughed with her comment regarding her parents' unhappiness with her major choice, Ruby was sure that it was something that stressed her out when she wasn't in front of a group of strangers, and didn't need to laugh to lighten the tone.

"Especially if it's something that you're good at and have a passion for, you'll do well. Even in the most saturated fields, which communications probably isn't, since I admittedly know very little about it, I think the most successful people are the ones who really have a passion for it, you know? The ones that enjoy going into work and doing what they do, and the ones who have ideas on how to make it a better field. I can only imagine that New York is probably the best place for someone looking to get into that." Communications seemed like a straight forward field. Ruby imagined that you could go into anything from a human resources type of job, to management, or sales. They were just guesses though, because she had dealt with those sorts of classes only minimally while in school. She had taken Communications 101 though, back in freshman year, which she cringed to think was over a decade ago. "I took only one or two communications classes when I was in school, but in the first one that I ever took, my professor said that the most beneficial piece of advice he had ever been given, years ago when he had first moved here, was to never burn bridges in New York," she said, pausing, as if the quote deserved a bit of thought. It wasn't that deep, but it was a true statement. She had grown up here, so it was a little different than had she just moved here and been offered those words of wisdom, but it was a good reflection of how connections were very important in the city. You never knew who you were dealing with on a daily basis, who they knew, and how that one day could either hurt or help you. That wasn't to say that anyone should keep toxic people in their lives, because Ruby would be the first to advocate against that, but to Ruby, it was more-so a strategy to focus on one's self-control and reactions. Cutting toxic people out of one's life was sometimes necessary and healthy, but it was possible, in her opinion, to do it graciously and without sacrificing one's own reputation in the process. It didn't hold an enormous amount of direct relevance in this conversation, but she liked to share the advice every now and then, and these young girls seemed like good recipients of it.

Had Ruby not been trying to make such a good and welcoming first impression, then she would have snickered at Kamon's comment, and added one of her own about how they could finally say that, and there actually be a chance of one of the women in the room wanting him. Most people would see Griffin as a lucky man for having two single female roommates, but in reality, both she and Kamon were gay, so he was out of luck in that department. She shook her head, though her smile spoke to her amusement, as she turned back to Riley, who had then explained that she was involved of all sorts of different interests in school. Film, French and pre-med? She was a go-getter, apparently, and Ruby was intrigued. Even if she had only said pre-med, that would have been a big enough similarity for her face to light up, but the uniqueness of that trio intrigued her more. "Kamon's the baby of our little family, so she's the only undergrad," she teased, flashing Kamon a cheesy smile in the process. "She goes to Columbia, which is where I graduated from with my bachelor's and it's actually where I went to med school too, which is why I already love you for being pre-med," she said, twisting her fork between strands of spaghetti, as she finally decided that she couldn't wait any longer to eat. Before putting the fork into her mouth, she looked to Kamon and Griffin with a playful smile. "See, only a few minutes in and I've already found you a little drawing buddy, and clearly everyone here can tell that you're stellar at communicating, so I'm sure you and Zoey will be hanging out all the time soon enough," she said, clearly sarcastically teasing Griffin with the last part. It was meant light-heartedly, of course. She understood that Griffin and Kamon both weren't as naturally inviting as she was, and she respected that, but she also appreciated that her relationship with both of her roommates was pretty easy going. They could all tease each other without it ever being that deep or offensive. "I guess I was lucky, though, because I knew that I wanted to go into psychiatry as soon as I started undergrad, which I know a lot of people, even in med school, aren't certain of. Long story short, though, I've been through the motions and know the struggles of everything from undergrad biochemistry, to the MCATs, and shadowing experiences, and I actually have a few connections at Langone and NYU's med school, in addition to everyone over at Columbia, so if you ever need any help finding an internship or getting some practice clinical hours in for your resume, you know where I live now," she said.

Finally taking a bite, the food was just as good as she knew it would be. She was sure that even true Italians couldn't hate on food this good, but she also wasn't one of those people who were overly critical of food, so it was easy for her to enjoy it. Swallowing the first bite, she had to throw in, "But, if you don't mind me asking, what are you planning on doing with your film degree?" She wondered if she was equally passionate about both, or if one was a backup plan to the other.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Riley Paige
Hex Code: #8365A1
Outfit
It could have been the euphoria from the food that was talking, but Ruby extending herself as a resource merely seconds after mentioning the importance of connections in the city left Riley a bit dizzy. While it didn't make sense, for a brief second she wondered if the girl was joking. Connections were the one thing she hated about New York. She'd like the hustle and bustle, but she didn't like the grind. Having to rub elbows just to rub elbows, and that was coming from someone who wasn't the most sentimental person out there too. Plus, she came into New York cold turkey. There were plenty of people, like her roommates, who weren't from the city, but it was easy for Riley to feel like everyone knew somebody important while she didn't know anybody. She wasn't alone in that imposter feeling, though, but it wasn't something she was acutely aware of. It had never bothered her so much that she felt totally hopeless. She just figured her time would come, and hopefully it would be due to her hardwork, since that was the only thing she had. Even she'd be lying if she said she didn't occasionally fantasize, from time to time, about accidentally running into someone who just so happened to have amazing connections. And, in a way, that was what was happening here, but it still seemed so random and by chance. If she ever crossed paths with the right person, she assumed it would be related to some task she was doing, like on the way to class, or running errands. Never in her life would he have imagine that she would run into a Ruby just because her roommate had a chance interaction with her the other day. Riley almost felt wrong to take the woman up on her offer, because she'd done absolutely nothing to deserve such a thing--as if her hardwork for the past few years were, for whatever reason, no longer counted in this instance. The best she could muster was a grateful nod and, "Okay, thank you."

"I don't mind at all." It was a common question, and sometimes a spiteful one too, as was any degree where the outcome wasn't obviously rewarding. If she ever picked up on someone's snide attitude, she'd feel compelled to add that she was on a pre-med track, and then like clockwork, the mood of the conversation would change as the other person sighed a breath of relief. She wasn't getting that vibe from rumor, who seemed genuinely curious about what she would be doing, which would make it easier for anyone to want to be open to answering the question. "There's a lot you could do with film, and I don't want to limit myself, but I also don't want to lose my scope. So right now, I think if I could work at a market research company or an independent production company, that'd be great. Ideally, I'd be a content creator and have my own production company, but that's really far away. And I've also considered working for a start up since I have a few technical skills that I think could be useful. It doesn't have to be a career, but I would love to have it implemented in my life in some way." She sucked her lips in, as if she'd said too much and was hogging the conversation. Having so many possibilities in such a shaky degree was enough to leave even the most blase student worried. It was certainly easier for her not to worry since she did have medical school in her line of vision, but Riley really did love film and the versatility of the subject. It was more than just a script and actors, especially in the modern day. There was a softer, more poetic side with the writing and visuals, but then there was a hard, technical side to it. It was one thing to have a pen and paper and write down what you wanted the reader to know and feel, but it was something completely different to compel those same emotions from a visual audience. If you had the wrong actors, the wrong script, the wrong shot--it was all ruined. It wasn't the end of the world, but for Riley, it was close enough. She hated watching movies and seeing what could have been, but she also loved exploring why it had filmed the way it was. Put her alongside her dad, and she'd talk until the the sun rose from the east. She wasn't with him, though, and so she felt she'd been speaking some sort of foreign language, and felt the need to clarify, as though her relationship with her own studies needed to be validated.

"It's like..." Riley looked around, trying to think of an example. Her eyes fell on the mounds of food in front of her, and her eyes flickered. "Cooking. It's like cooking. You know when you make something for someone, and you just really want the people eating your food to enjoy it. And it's...really nice to see the look on their face when they take a bite. Even if you had it yourself and you know its good. Film is the same way. There's just something really cool about evoking emotion. Reminds you how human we are." In that moment, she realized she was rambling again, and shook her head, smiling apologetically, because now she was certainly being rude. Ruby didn't ask for all of that. "Sorry," she chuckled before scooping a forkful of pasta into her mouth to force herself to be quiet, because she was just an impulse away from talking endlessly.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin
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Griffin let out a hum of amusement at Ruby’s admissions as he wandered around the kitchen, filling his own glass with water. Apparently a year of minor alcoholism at his lowest point had made him a little averse to the bottle Ruby abandoned on the counter. But this was nice, he had to admit, listening to Ruby’s pleasantries as he and Kamon filled their plates. He wasn’t the sort of person terribly keen to chat, more comfortable in his role as a listener. That didn’t stop him from the occasional comment, however.

“Ugh. Children. I have no idea how you manage to deal with them every day,” Griffin muttered, scowling around the rim of his water glass. He’d spent far too much time dealing with snot-nosed brats as an older brother as well as during the portion of his residency that he’d spent in the children’s ward. The part of his residency he’d actually completed. But those were thoughts for another time or, well, never. He distracted himself by piling salad onto his plate, drizzling it with a balsamic vinaigrette. As long as Ruby didn’t bring home a stuffy nose or hacking cough to share around the apartment, he couldn’t complain much.

It was always difficult to complain around Ruby, whether she brought home some delicious(s if a bit touristy) Italian or not. She was his best friend, filled to the brim with warmth and enthusiasm. Well, that is when she allowed herself to truly live in a social situation instead of letting the over analytic part of her mind run hog wild. But she’d been better about that recently, especially stuck in an apartment with two blunt personalities like Kamon and Griffin. And when she was like this, positivity personified, he found it hard to deny her anything.

Which was very good, as it turned out, because he was not exactly pleased to have a stranger invited into their home. Yes, he did mind that she was inviting a stranger over. The apartment was a wreck (there were maybe two boxes left in the living room), he hadn’t showered today, and he didn’t like strangers. Maybe he had once upon a time, but after his dark downward spiral not too long ago, he just didn’t feel terribly comfortable in social situations. Here it was different. Ruby and Kamon were friends, people who’d touched his life in positive ways, even if Kamon had a habit of teasing him and Ruby sometimes fell into her old psycho-analytic training when he had bad days.

So, no, he didn’t want their neighbor stopping by, but, God, Ruby made it sound like the most reasonable thing in the world. How could he argue with that? So, instead, he reluctantly nodded his head as Ruby hurried out of the room. No, he couldn’t argue. He could, however, go ahead and take his pick of the choicest pieces of garlic bread, which he did with relish. Yes, armed with crispy garlic bread, he could face just about anything.

Except for there being three strangers instead of one. A herd of young women had apparently followed Ruby home, and Griffin found himself standing automatically, an act that belonged purely to the remnants of his mother’s dedication to teaching him some manners. He nodded in acknowledgment as Ruby made introductions, also not feeling the need to really add anything to the introduction. They were undergrads, as it turned out, a few years younger than the lot of them, although it was beginning to feel like a lot more. Maybe it was his sweater talking (or more likely Kamon’s comments about his “grandpa” sweater), but he felt like a bit of a fossil at the moment. Were they even old enough to drink? He doubted it but didn’t object when one of the girl began filling two glasses. It wasn’t his place to play at being an adult.

He would just have to stay strong, though. He dealt with creative majors on a weekly basis, at least, although he generally was holding their grades in his hands, which tended to change the interaction more than a bit. He resigned himself to sitting back down quietly, waiting to tuck in until everyone served themselves.

Ruby was in rare form tonight, dishing out compliments and trying to make connections between the people at the table. An illustrator, a communications major), and a film (with French and premed!) major. He could only be thankful that one of them wasn’t one of his writing students or students-to-be. Quelle horreur.

Maybe his general terror at the situation was showing because Kamon was ready to pounce, their eternal battle of snarky comments reviving itself. It was an old favorite, too, something he’d heard an infinite amount of times since deciding to move in with Ruby and Kamon. Clearly they were all completely straight and ready to live out an episode of some delightful soap opera. The reality, however, was much different with two out of three roommates firmly not heterosexual, and Griffin himself gradually admitting that he was somewhere more central on that sexuality spectrum.

“Yes, Kamon. I’m clearly in Heaven. Praise be,” He replied dryly, although the smile playing on his lips cut the sharpness of the comment. And it was enough to ease the tension for him, settling Griffin into a more relaxed posture. Familiarity was nice, even if it did mean that Ruby was going to take a turn teasing him too. He didn’t dignify her comment with a response, sniffing primly before taking a bite of chicken. Just because he was asked to be social didn’t mean he was about to let his food get cold, especially since it was apparently time for Ruby to dispense life advice.

He fought back a cringe when Ruby asked what the film girl, Riley, was going to do with her degree. It was a question he’d heard all too often after dropping out of med school, and it was usually paired with a good bit of judgment and disbelief. But Riley didn’t appear to take it the wrong way. If anything, her answer was far more telling than he’d expected.

He got it. Really, he did. The draw of communication through art, working towards something that you could only hope people reacted well to. How many short stories of his had been rejected? How many times had he had to prove that he could probably understand what made something good or bad to a reader while he was beginning as an editor? Not an easy life, that.

“Don’t be sorry about being passionate about something,” He said after a moment, eyes glancing down at his plate instead of at her. He seemed as surprised as any of them to finally be speaking. “Passion’s what keeps you going sometimes, especially when it comes to creating something. Otherwise you get scared off by all of the rejection and uncertainties.” He paused for another moment, fiddling with his fork.

“I’m work as an editor and I’m a Creative Writing grad student at NYU. Trust me, I get it.” He finally glanced up, a little twinkle of mirth in his eyes before going back to his dinner. “I wouldn’t recommend taking a class that I TA for, though. Apparently I’m the Devil incarnate.”

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Makalya Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Collin Forrester Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Chanel Nasiri Character Portrait: Oscar Teenson Character Portrait: Kamon Leavitt Character Portrait: Zoey Saidi Character Portrait: Neil Vincent Character Portrait: Hudson Taylor Character Portrait: Kaz Martin Character Portrait: Ruby Barr Character Portrait: Riley Paige Character Portrait: Griffin Hughes Character Portrait: Jetta Babin Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Dylan Taylor
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Friday, January 6th, 2017 || 9:00 PM