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Simone Bates

"I'll dance and play the part, if that's what ya want..."

0 · 2,200 views · located in Brooklyn, New York

a character in “Dirt & Opulence”, as played by Ivisbo




"Just let me know when you decide to write me off"

Roads Untraveled - Linkin Park | Thrive - Switchfoot | The Devil Within - Digital Daggers

Simon Randall Bates

Bates | Most people that don't know him call him this- is pretty easy to spot a Bates boy from a mile off.
Baby Bates | He's heard it, he hates it, don't ever fucking call him that to his face.
Fag, Cock Jockey, Bear | He has heard most of them, even though he has been with numerous women as well as men. Doesn't bother him anymore, for the most part.

22 | October 31st


Homosexual | Once upon a time Simon was inserted in the opposite sex, and he still finds women attractive- but he just never ends up going home with one.

Modish Mastermind



Dark Blonde with hints of red in his beard.


186 lbs

Other then his beard, Simon's tattoos is probably the most prominent thing about him. He got his first tattoo around 15, (when his father started letting him partake in the family business) which developed into a healthy addiction that he could never scrap. Now almost covered from head to toe, Simon's skin is worth well over $50,000.

Clothing is important to Simon. Its probably the most gay thing about him- he hates not being dressed, even at home he looks like he just stepped out of a magazine. Thankfully he has the money to keep up his expensive tastes; though Simon always has a knack for looking like he doesn't spend thousands on his clothing. Basic tees, polos, jean or leather jackets, levi 511 or black skinny jeans, or a nice suit is what he can usually be found in.


Charismatic | Charming | Sweet | Loyal | Passionate | Anxious

    | Clothing- an obsession
    | Weed- only thing that keeps him sane
    | Cigarettes- for when he can't have weed
    | Sex- the real addiction
    | Tattoos- each one tells a story
    | His Mother- his rock, he doesn't mind that he's still her baby
    | Sushi- favorite food of all time

    | Hard Drugs- just can't handle them himself, he doesn't mind other people using
    | Violence- he loves Gunner, but he wished the guy would chill out sometimes
    | His Dad- he doesn't feel like he has ever had a real relationship with him
    | Being Left Out- his family tries to protect him, but it drives him crazy
    | His Episodes- his most humiliating crutch, he hates when people find out...

Simon is a sweet and loving gentlemen to anyone he meets. He oozes charm, likes flirting and messing with people, and usually always has a partner or two to go home with. Despite his sexual and lewd nature, Simon is actually a well loved person. People respect him not only for his family name, but for standing out as the kind and innocent side of the family. Although he partakes in the business side, Gotti never appointed his youngest son a real job. Yeah, Simon went along to buisness meetings and dinners, but he was more a cheap date, a woman that smoothed things over when the mood shifted. But Simon spent most of his life being ignored by his dad, so he takes any opportunity he can to involve himself.

To most people, Simon seems like a well rounded, calm, collected, and sensitive young man. He smiles, opens doors, stands up when a woman comes to the table, and dances- but most of this is only accomplished under a heavy sedation of weed and ciggeretes. Simon actually has acute panic disorder and anxiety over everything. His panic often leads to bouts of rage, though he can usually calm himself before he hurts anyone. He is highly secretive of this, only his mother and those very close to him know. Although he knows that it isn't that big of a deal he finds the idea of his father or Dominic finding out to be one of the most terrifying things in the world. Not only had did he turn out to be the gay, but he hates violence and now he gets extreme anxiety and panic- he sees himself as the biggest let down to the Bates family line.


Gotti Bates | father
Carmine Bates | mother
Dominic Bates | older brother
Gunner Bates | older brother
Julia Bates | older sister

ImageBy the time Simon was born, the Bates families wealth and power was flourishing. He stepped into a life where everything was handed to him- education, money, clothes, relationships, and power. Because it was the only thing Simon ever knew, he was happy with it. He liked getting everything he wanted and he abused it wholeheartedly. He never really learned the concept that money needed to be earned because he did not exit when the Bates were still earning there place. Spoiled as he was, his three older siblings never let him become too much of a whimp- Dominic with his gruff authority, Gunner with his brash fists, and Julia with her snarky ways. He never disrespected his father or mother, though he was always much much closer to her. Gotti was always too busy for his youngest son- but Carmine had a soft spot for her baby and coddled him constantly.

Even though he knew there was a rough side to the family business, Simon was not included in any form of the family affairs until he was in high school. Dominic and Gunner ran the show mostly- Simon was always the annoying brat that got in the way. He hated being left out just as much as he hated not getting his way- so when he was 15 Simon snuck in the back seat of a car to a seemingly routine meeting. Things turned sour at some point and Simon watched with wide eyes as Gunner beat the shit out of a man in an expensive suit, blood and split flying. He watched Dominic calmly pull out a gun and point it at the other man, watched his brothers scar the piss out of these two hard ass looking drug lords...and he was hooked. He wanted in, from that moment on. Gunner and Dominic caught him, of course, he was way to excited when they got back in the car to contain himself. But it was only a matter of time before Simon felt the itch and joined in the family business.

Simon was soft though. He had been raised differently then the other boys- the lap of luxury. He did not have an impressive and powerful presence like Dominic nor did he have Gunners strength. But Simon could talk. Maybe it was all these years in a prep school, maybe education really did make a difference, but Simon had a way of making people like him. He was a cute kid with a sweet attitude that screamed harmless, so thats what he pretended to be. The Bates have a reputation for being violent- Simon upheld the opposite for the public. Gotti or Dominic would bring Simon along when they were trying to have a quiet, personable meeting with there clients. Simon liked being useful, he liked that he was helpful to the family and that his dad was finally taking notice of him.

His sweet personality is a stark contrast to his egotistical side, the side that likes sex and women and men. Most people adore Simon- in more then one way. He was always handsome, the Bates family known for being a good looking bunch, but with Simon's open and inviting personality he always had people hanging off him. Mix that with the fact that he came out as openly bisexual in high school and you have a lot of attention. Simon never really had to worry about people picking on him for the gay thin- Gunner was enough of a deterrent for that.

Despite all this though, Simon's charisma is mostly a role for his father, a role he plays very well and manages to hide from most of his family. It started in high school- Simon would get episodes, some sort of panic attack that both terrified and filled his body full of rage. His mother could help him with them sometimes, but other times he had to simply beat the ever-living shit out of anything he could get a hold of. He wasn't a good fighter- Simon never really learned how to properly throw a punch- but during his episode he would punch till his fists turned bloody and his knuckles cracked. He went to therapy in secret with his mother, tried drugs- medicinal and pharmaceutical. Weed helps him mostly, stronger drugs make him freak out more- which means Simon is often smoking in order to make himself feel calm. It isn't like he is in constant danger of freaking out, but the idea of blowing it for his family or revealing himself makes him constantly on edge. But as long as he continues to self medicate, Simon is able to mostly keep himself in check...

So begins...

Simone Bates's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Jaehyun Kim Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson Character Portrait: Leigh Ann Chu Character Portrait: Nikolai Malkov
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The Brooklyn sub rosas, cage and coop of something bound for victory and moved on the backs of rats who dreamt for better lives. Puppets in buildings by the string yanking of a cosa nostra sensation. Labs go east, west. North. South. Between. Pocketed in those non-English-speaking districts where the cards are cut just by bare management. 'Cause it can go one of two ways: riches or ruin. These stockrooms range from coffee houses, basements, titty bars, to crack dens. Each front has its purpose. The mass production of analgesics, opiates and stimulants is the foremost. Branded Zaire.

A familiar theme 'round these parts is the devil's song and frequent libido to dance to it. The opposite of the bible is the parables written in this place, where indulgence is courtesy of opted intent for dirty glory. If one can't find it in an empty wallet and scattered teeth of a sidewalk, they will find it in the rippling of their blood after selling their soul. Euphoria is never too far for the willing hedonist. But prestige? Big guns never lose it when they're unafraid, against the odds without hesitation toward the next spirit they break. It's why this neighborhood is gutted down the middle.

Two kings. Two houses.

Bel sat under the crown of cold hard cash. He'd accept nothing less in the absence of his father. His former brother in arms, Gunner, resided on the diametric side, with significantly less losses. It was because of this that Bel found himself at war even more so internally than out - the agony behind painful self questioning never garnered him reason. Never explanation.

Why was it that, as Cristobel and Senna's father became a ghost, Gunner got to speak to his one last time? Why in all of this, did Gunner's spine stiffen to a formidable code he wouldn't break, not even for his best friend? Why wouldn't he tell anyone anything? Why didn't he want the family he grew alongside to have closure? Why in Andres Zaire's memory, was there only the aftermath of Gotti Bates and his perpetual stain on Bel's family? Why did any of the Bates stay in New York? What gave them the nerve? How was that family name still remotely alive in the streets? Was Bel just fucking their only daughter in the name of some sworn counter play? Was he next to be taken out? These things were contemplated quietly. Inside the glock-tapped-temple of none other than Cristobel.

ImageHis morning routine involved casting aside his blatant love for Julia Bates and all the vindictive poison for the rest of her bloodline. Somewhere beside the discarded sentiment was likely an empty bottle, Rolex, and an iPhone loaded with missed calls. A few inches beyond the dangling wrist of a mattress ornament. His nocturnal penchant. Sun stream trickled through the window and ignited the curves of her silhouette, glittered on dark hair but failed to lighten under eye shadows. Cocaine coma. She was nameless and catered to, he was a stack of Benjamins richer. Bel inhaled the aroma of some catty perfume stuck to his sheets, half lidded, hand down the front of his boxers. A lone thumb lazily grazed Calvin Klein's in a hazy blur of ink. Just another successful night in paradise.

The rough skin of a tattooed palm came down his face at the realization that morning was actually noon and noon was surely ticking past 2PM. With a knuckle slide along the ribs of his clientele and concubine, he murmured, "Muñeca I got shit to do." No movement. He assessed his stubble from mandible to chin point, waiting for a response.

“Vamos,” he snagged the comforter from where it rested just enough to protect her dignity below, tugged on one of her ankles and gruffly spoke up, “Salir. Now.” The baritone spilled out of his mouth in autocratic excellence without room for second thoughts or apologies. Not like he ever gave either, anyway. The Latina hissed in recoil, “Yo sé cómo funciona!” She went vertical, suddenly turning the rounded tip of her nose up and gathering material around her naked frame. He was pleasantly surprised by her comprehension, being that it was almost impossible to recall whether she spoke English or at all the night before. “Cálmese. I don’t wanna’ fucking cuff you. No te hagas ilusiones.” It appeared she was mocking him, but he attributed it to her beauty sleep being disturbed.

“Nobody owns Cristobel Zah-ree.”

It appeared his generous assumption was wrong. Nope, this was home-brewed loathing. But all he could do was furrow his brow at the rolling of her tongue around the syllables of his name and let a grin split across his face. There was real anger behind the full red mouth that was barking at him, stainless cotton falling from her grasp in her audacity. As her dialect proceeded into a flood, he scrolled through his phone, acknowledging the common case among all of the texts. More or less a block party at The Little Lady which would be warped into a business opportunity the minute he stepped foot on the property. Live music, good food, maybe they’d even open up the outdoor dining portion if the sun stayed at it. A cocked eyebrow hit when the firecracker threw a hand toward him, breasts jiggling at every point she made, babbling about him not even listening.

Had to love the sass and fearlessness of a Latina, the disrobed pride and promise that he would miss her when she was gone. That she swore. His response was unmoved by her passionate script, but hell if it wasn’t entertaining. “Si, si.” He’d say. Hypnotizing, really. Watching the bounce of her chest and allowing her voice to fade into static. Just smile and nod. Offer her a ride home and try not to laugh.

By the time she’d finally relented and caved for a cruise in the A6, he was short on time. He didn’t get her name. Back to the pad and swiftly into the shower. The usual nine yards. Shit, shower, shave. What greeted him in the mirror was prominent cheek bones once made way for by the clearing of condensation. A pair of dark riddles above his nose, the steel jawline complimenting surfeit of symmetry. Dead set terrain down his abdomen showed in washboard fashion. Somehow it was maintained by the occasional shake and two hour gym session. Casual slap of Armani aftershave, finger rake through chocolate hair at the hard part, pomade to keep it in place. Save for the clothes in the bedroom, he was just about done.

Pregaming lone wolf style would have him fashionably late for the bash but no one would mind. Julia, maybe, but it wasn’t like she could come sit in his lap either way in a place like that. Not with the odds of her brothers showing up. Senna would reserve a table or a seat at the bar, clock him with her tiny hand and chide him without any real effort whenever he decided to make an appearance. Everything else would be handshakes and exchange.

Bel neglected pulling a shirt on until the last possible moment, lethargic in sliding a denim jacket over it as well. The permanent medallion across collar bones barely peeked over the white seam. And when he rocked himself to his full posture of six feet and then some, floorboards creaked under his shoes.

The atmosphere was friendly, happy enough. Light. Yeah, that’s what he would use to describe it. Lots of family-oriented cordiality and the smell of home cooked recipes. The doors were propped open as if to say, “Everyone is welcome.” Immediately behind the counter with a twist on his mouth was what Bel assumed to be the owner or head chef, muscles wrapped around his arms and twitching when something was out of place. At his side, a young girl, maybe six or seven at the most. She pulled on him and suspended from his side in the way children do when they really want something.

It didn't take Bel long to spot Dominic Bates, cigar between teeth and sidewise to the commotion. The rest of the clan would surely be arriving if the least-involved tramp was there. So when Leigh slid up next to Bel, voice meek, maintaining just enough distance to be his shadow, the reminder of advantage was cognizant. One of his arms went around her shoulder to whisper something into her hair. Similar to how a federal agent holds up a piece of clothing to his dog and starts the hunt, but more refined and indirect. Her tresses were ambrosial of Tsubaki and it lingered on him when she split off.

ImageThere were the regulars, then. Neighborhood-y faces recognized easily. Malkov with his Russian charm, something in his glass, patting backs and politely regarding matrons. In fact, he was just a short distance from Bel’s little sister, who was eyeing the cracked-concrete look of an arm laid on the bar top. The back face of its palm had a song bird tattoo. Had to belong to a junkie from the vein structure. Someone paler than a ghost. Tall and thin, akin to a specter, too. Must have been one of the kids that showed up to Bel’s HQ with a jittering violent need that couldn’t be sated by just any product. He was shameless, bumping Senna and causing a spilled drink when he readjusted himself. Judging by the carriage and slick smile, it had to be Jasper. Senna was regaining her composure, waving it off and saying it wasn’t a big deal as she dabbed at her dress with a napkin. Typical. But at least it was handled.

Bel held a menu in his hand. The place was stacked with decent options, none of which he’d get to sit down and enjoy with sniper-eyes in every corner but. He’d take a mental note of it and return on a less crowded day. The sandy-haired hurricane herself blew in a moment later, eyes buffed black by make up. Julia totally avoided her brother, curved anyone else and went straight for the bar. Eventually the brawn known as Gunner showed up, then a Kim [or two], and Simone in the ironed perfection of a tailored get up.

Suddenly it felt congested.

Upon ordering himself a bourbon, Bel found himself next to a familiar patron, scarlet shade pinning crux on her. But he knew all about Chloe. Her habits, her cool exhibition of being the secret aficionado. He ordered her a vodka and cranberry, mouthing, “It’s on me.” She was pressed to the bar by the back of the Yakuza’s daughter [really strange seeing her out in the daylight, let alone somewhere like The Little Lady].

Moving between the crowd was a blue-haired girl, anxious in mannerism, serving plates of food. She dumped an appetizer tray in front of Chloe and Bel, looking flustered. The air constricted, thickened with the humidity of bodies packed and much too comfortable whether in a drunken state of food or booze to move. Bel closed a hefty tip in her free hand and waved her off. He tried to keep his gaze off of Jubes, raising his glass to toast with Chloe, “So aside from the obvious, what do you do in your free time? You don’t strike me as the regular New Yorker, and I’m all sorts of curious.”

Read Jubes' Post Here

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Jaehyun Kim Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson Character Portrait: Nikolai Malkov
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Every coin has another side, cleaner or dirtier is a matter of perspective, and the West dealt with midnight, back-alley dealings and baseball bats breaking bones of those too stupid to pay up. Relying on a gusto of gnarled thugs, frost-wielding transport trucks, and bearded brothers to keep their business running like freshly greased cogs, the Bates starlight business of narcotics, premium nose candy and dirty work clambered to the top, with their neighbourhood Colombians. They kept their fingers in everyone's pie. Rubbed shoulders, shook hands, buried bodies. Knowledge and connections might've been powerful, but it's the ones that back it up with ripped knuckles and gnashed teeth that get to keep it all. And if there's something to say about the Bates family, it's that they're damned fucking determined to keep what they've earned.

While Dominic sat in the second throne, narcotic-crown as soft and delicate as flowers on his head, Gunner was at his side. Behind his chair, at his feet, arms crossed and always waiting: a bearded beefcake, a dog with a short leash, and a penchant for abusing their own merchandise. Frequently. If anyone actually noticed, they didn't say anything. Too much of a bother. And for once, in that damning instance, Gunner knew more than his older brother, and his attempts at drowning out his father's wrangling words ended up in barely-recalled nights heating spoons and taping clean needles, passed out in the hallway of his home; clothed or unclothed.

Why had his dad reached out to him first? He wasn't in charge. He'd never been in fucking charge, so why had he pulled him aside, bright eyes like delirious lanterns. Gripping his shoulder like a drunken man holding onto a pillar. Why couldn't he have just left him out of it? Instead, he dropped a handful of shit into his hands, and took off to god-knows where. No instructions as to what he was supposed to do with what he told him. What was he supposed to do? One person couldn't stand up to the shit-storm that was brewing in the distance, and the sickness swirling in his gut told him that he didn't want the change that was coming. Something would burn to the ground. And they'd expect him to tickle his fingers across his glock: friend or not.

His own morning routine wasn't as glamorous. Gunner didn't rake his teeth across a stranger's thighs, didn't transpose his room into a tourist attraction and click his tongue at a nice pair of legs until they felt compelled to trail their way inside. He'd never been like that, much to Bel's disappointment. How many times had he dragged his sorry ass to strip clubs, or dumped a friend of a friend into his lap, hoping for something entertaining to happen? Too many times to count. Mornings like these were spent wallowing in the tangled sheets, leather belt just barely slinking down his forearm. His phone buzzed off the coffee table, and clattered on the ground until the caller finally gave up and left a nasally message. Hardly any sunlight trickled through the bamboo blinds, carefully shuttered close to prevent his head from spinning when he finally cracked his eyes open. Feather-light foot treads pounced on the corner of his bed, clambered up his spine, and settled beside his face. A lady of the feline persuasion. A rattling purr sounded, nestling itself under his jawline. Better than any alarm clock he'd ever had.

A soft sigh sifted past his lips, buried in fur, until he rolled to the side, and pushed himself up, disentangling himself from the thin sheets. He didn't bother with heavy blankets, no duvet, because it was too hot and nightmares addled his narcotized dreams. Dragging heavy hands across his face and through his hair, Gunner dragged his knuckles over his bleary eyes. Lidded at half-mast, they combed across the room and found the glowing numbers blinking up at him: 1pm. Wasn't like he had much to do today, but sleeping in when he should've been slinging dope, or following Dominic's instructions, wouldn't bode well for him. He dropped a hand across the feline's head, scratched at the back of it's ears, and murmured a barely intelligible word before slipping off the bed and stumbling towards the bathroom.
An initial bout of inertia made Gunner's shower dismally miserable. His head swam like a fishbowl, splashing over it's sides. Soap, scrape, forehead pressed against the tiles, finished. He swiped his palm across the surface pf the wall-sized mirror, clearing the condensation to expose a slice of raccoon-eyed bags, like purple and black prose, and drifting lower, a flat-lined frown. Thick, dark eyebrows, framed murky eyes, or puddles, or shit, for all the baggage they carried. Aquiline nose, crooked. Lip, scarred. Fortunately, they weren't bloodshot. Clipped his beard so he looked less like a lumberjack and more like someone who had their life together, which was hilariously inaccurate. Taming the scruff of brown hair with pomade, and briefly spraying his collar with whatever was on the counter. Probably Dominic's stuff.

He flicked through his phone, halted on a few texts, though they generally said the same thing. When was he getting there? The Little Lady—a party of sorts, and there'd be business, because wherever the families went, there was always fucking business to take care of. Almost made him want to stay in. Tuck himself back in bed. Send himself off in another ceiling-raising stupor, drifting away from everything that made his knuckles crack. Gunner took a deep, withering breath and snapped open his closet.

Clothes. Clothes made the man... or whatever his pops used to say, tightening tiny ties around the boys' necks whenever they were allowed to follow him around. It stuck with him, like a rough-housing growl in the back of his ear, even if he deliberately ignored it. His style allowed for brisk movements, bloody fists, and future stains, because blood was unforgiving on designer suits and shiny shoes. A plain white shirt, fitted to his stocky form. Black dress pants, fitted with a belt for ulterior purposes, and a pair of ass-kicking boots, prime for extracting teeth from pretty faces. Slipping a leather jacket over his bulky shoulders, he shook out the collar and sucked at his gums, hesitating at the doorway. Aviators completed the ensemble, to hide the mess of restlessness splayed across his face like a crime scene presenting itself to his betters.

But, it wasn't the glasses he'd been wondering about. It didn't make him rock back on his heels, fingers resting across the door handle. A bump. That's all he needed right now, before throwing himself neck-deep into whatever was going to happen at The Little Lady. He wasn't stupid. He'd been avoiding Bel like he carried the bubonic plague, like he had rats scurrying at his heels, threatening to infect everyone around him. Might've been cowardly, but Gunner didn't have a way with words, and something told him that whatever he managed to say would end up in broken bottles and flying fists. It wasn't what he wanted. He raked his fingers across his face, exhaled sharply and lurched back into his room. Only took him a few seconds, fishing out that tiny bag of paradise, of silent sanctum. Meticulous movements, dividing pure whiteness into lines, and sending it straight up his septum. A few head shakes, sniffles, and he was right as rain.
Showing his face late wasn't anything out of the ordinary, though he was neither fashionably late or cared enough to come early. Sometimes, he didn't bother showing up at all. Shaking hands and clapping shoulders didn't appeal to him. Now, busting heads and making people cry, that was a different beast altogether. Nettled energy sizzled through his fingertips, jettisoned up his spine, and wriggled down his neckline; sordid warmth, cat-calling him to break things, run, expend it in any way possible. But this was the wrong place. Everything in the Little Lady screamed civil, organized, friendly. Jona's bearded gruff greeted him first, eying the establishment through the eyes of someone who cared too much. Gunner took another deep breath through his nostrils and felt the bitter, residual lick dripping down his throat, numbing the portions it touched. And he was calm, for the most part. He licked his lips, hooked his aviators in his shirt and bustled through the gathering crowd of locals.

Bel was hard to miss in the crowd, even if he'd rather go without seeing him here, he knew it'd be impossible. Of course, he'd be here. Wouldn't miss it for the world. Besides, they had business to settle, and he wasn't saying a word about it. How awkward would this be? Gunner slipped a hand to the nape of his neck and scratched at his hairline, idling closer to the bar, than anyone's table. Usually, he wouldn't cut through the crowd and plopped right down beside his upscaled, swanky partner in crime, but times were changing and he didn't feel like facing him just yet. Not without a drink warming his belly. He noted the shaking phantom bump into Senna, and spill her drink, and almost stepped over to see if there was a problem, until he overhead him apologizing. Jasper, that's what his name was. Just another junky. Kinda like he was, he supposed. His gazed lingered on the youngest Zaire, dabbing her dress and waving Jasper off like it was no big deal, because it wasn't, but that's just how she was. They were contradictions, reacting in distinctive ways. She was too good, sometimes.


Gunner averted his gaze, because it was never good looking at her for too long when Bel was around. Instead, he wandered to the bar and leaned his elbows across the smooth, clean surface, glancing up at the grisly bartender, “Two shots of rum, each. Thanks.” He didn't look at Jubes for a second. Only shifted his position and leaned his back against the bar, regarding everyone else flitting from group to group. Simon was smoothing ruffled feathers. It was a knack he had, churning turmoil into something a little lighter. Then, there was everyone else. Businesses rubbing elbows in the dark, smoke puffing from lips; Russian, American, Colombian, Yakuza alike. It would've been strange if he wasn't used to such shady company, and if he didn't belong in it himself. Once the drinks arrived, he slid one over to his younger sister and took a whopping gulp of his own, sighing over the rim of his glass, “Hope you're having a better day than I am, Jubes.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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#, as written by Ivisbo

It was well past midday when he woke, the sun had creeped its way across the carpet to land on his ink-filled skin and enveloping him in a sedative warmth. He brows pulled together, one tatted arm swung up to cover his face from the burning light. Blooming pain spread from the middle of his skull, signaling that he must have had a good night last night. Sleep clung to him and urged him to settle back down, enjoy the comfort of the unfamiliar bed- but his bladder said otherwise.

Simon ignored the body next to him as he awkwardly clambered out of the mattress, making a beeline for what he assumed was the bathroom. He pissed a a waterfall and splashed some cold water on his face, looking disdainfully at his crunchy day old pomade hair through the mirror. He was exhausted- his green eyes duller then normal, bags under his eyes much more visible. Honestly, he didn't remember much of last night, nor did he have any idea where he was. The body he had been sleeping next to was unrecognizable and the small apartment was no where he had ever been. He was also completely naked- not that he cared, but he knew he at least did have sex last night. His body ached, he felt absolutely disgusting, and he was pretty sure he reeked as well. The faint stench of too many cigarettes and weed clung to his skin- he eyed the shower hungrily, but felt it better that he get the hell out of this shit hole first.

First he had to deal with Noname in the bed, find his shit, then figure out where the hell he was.

Simon slipped back into the bedroom and took stock of the ragtag studio. He was used to going home with people with a little more...class. But glancing at the naked body currently sprawled across the mattress on the ground- toned muscles, tanned skin, tattoos covering most of what could be seen- Simon figured he could forgive Drunk Him. He proceeded to pull his shit together- digging his phone out of the sofa, locating his underwear halfway across the room-

"Morning sweetheart" The accented slur made Simon jump out of his skin, looking over at the half awake Italian eyeing him like he was ready for another round.

Simon smiled stiffly, continuing to gather up his stuff and dress, "Uh, morning. Hey" Usually he was a little more sly about getting the fuck out before his routinely random partner awoke, but Simon was feeling a little slower then normal. He had a sick feeling that last night had not involved his normally strict menu of alcohol, weed, and nicotine... he was off this morning more then usual.

Noname stood up and sauntered towards him as Simon tugged on his skinny jeans, "Had fun last night, didn't think I would get to fuck a Bates"

Simon rolled his eyes and scoffed, "Sure glad I can help you check that one off the list", he was instantly irritated but he let the guy grab and kiss him- he tasted like day old cigarettes and too much vodka, but the man knew what he was doing and for a moment Simon thought about staying for one more go. He figured the guy only wanted a little something extra- Simon was used to people always wanting something more from him, but you didn't bag Bates souvenirs from a mediocre lay. Simon saved his drug hand-outs for people he actually remembered the next morning.

"I gotta get going" He broke away and tugged on his shirt before the man could kiss him again, side stepping around him and nabbing his jean jacket, "Its been uh, great. I'll see you around"

He hailed a cab as soon as he got outside- he had a vague idea that he was somewhere on the far side of Brooklyn but Simon had no interest in walking anywhere today. His headache pounded through his skull and made him wonder what the hell he had last night. Weed and alcohol didn't do this kind of damage to him- asshole upstairs probably slipped him some ecstasy or something. Simon steered clear of the harder drugs, despite his families business... it fucked him up more then he was willing to admit. He wasn't someone that could handle the hard stuff and he knew that.

The house was empty when he arrived. Simon still lived with his mom in the family home in Brooklyn Heights- while the rest of the siblings had moved on, Simon had stayed put. He was always overly attached to his mom growing up, but after Gotti disappeared Simone felt like she needed to have someone around. Frankly- if he was being honest- he needed her as well. All of Simon's anxiety and fucked up panic calmed when he had his mom around, as sappy as that sounds. But it wasn't like he clung to her like a sobbing six year old- usually Simon saw her once a week for dinner at the most.

ImageHe shrugged off his clothes on the way to the bathroom, bee-lining for the shower. Simon stayed in the warm heat far longer then usual- spent the time loosening his sore muscles and poking his head out of the curtain to take a few hits from the bong he always kept on the back of the toilet. By the time he exited the steamy bathroom- hair perfectly combed back in place and smelling like his new pine and peppermint soap- it was already dark outside. Simon's closet was actually the adjacent room- it was the guest bedroom at some point, but when the rest of the Bates siblings moved out Simon expanded his territory a bit. And frankly, no one could ever expect him to fit his clothes in the tiny ass closet in his room. At most of these occasions Simon over dressed- tonight was no exception. He deliberated over his slim cut dark blue suit but decided the grey-wool three piece was better for tonight- he tended to like dressing his best when he felt his worse. And shit did he still feel the hangover...there was no doubt he had something hard last night and is pissed Simon off that he had no clue what it was. Before heading out he finished off a joint for nerves while rolled a few more to fill the empty spots next to his American Spirits.

He made it to The Little Lady later then the would have liked. Simon enjoyed heading in early on nights like these, catching Jona before he got too busy with customers and the general mayhem of the bar. But the bar was already full when he walked in and the older man was attending to customers, so Simon just smiled and raised his hand in greeting as he passed by. He could see Sienna hustle around in the restaurant, but she was a little too busy for him to properly greet. She would notice him soon enough and head over on her own time, Simon had seen her earlier yesterday anyway. His eyes flowed over to Dominic who was being his usual anti-social self and drinking on his own at the bar- he probably should go sort out what needed to happen tonight, but first Simon needed a drink. As Simon made his way passed the crowd to where he could see Gunner and Jubes, he caught sight of Jasper fumbling his drink all over Senna Zaire. He felt the urge to change course and head Jasper's way instead, knowing he would have a good time with his most recent affair- Simon didn't care about Jasper personally, but they used each other for what they were worth. Fulfilled their own addictions- Jasper provided the attention Simon craved and Simon provided his families never-ending supply of drugs. Jasper was like a bad scab Simon couldn't stop picking at, he knew the heroine addict was no good for him but he just couldn't help himself. And fuck if the guy wasn't good in bed.

Simone quickly sidestepped to the bar and slipped up on Gunners free side- Jubes was taking up his right, looking her usual charming self despite the resting bitch face. Simon would usually reminded her that he could kill someone with that glare of hers, but she was busy writing a note to pass on to the bartender. Curious, but a drink first on the menu before he investigated.

"Jona" He called over to the older man, leaning over the counter so he could cast his usual charming smile his way, "Old-fashioned, please. Make it a strong one"

He glanced Gunner and Jubes, raising a brow at his sister, "Who're you sending love notes too? Anyone we know" Of course, Simon knew just about everyone in this bar- though Simon couldn't imagine a single person here that could keep up with Jubes and everything that was her.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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#, as written by Caille

It was the night before, and Sienna had the night off from the restaurant she worked at. The Little Lady, was a nice place to work and run by a friendly family. She wasn't close to them in any means, but she did know their names. While she had the night off from The Little Lady, Sienna had managed to score a side job in the other business that she dabbled in.

In the job she did, often times her brother Kyle would accuse her of being a prostitute. The blue haired girl never really got angry about him calling her that, but she did consider herself on a higher ranked level than a prostitute. She had more class, and it wasn't just sex, for the most part she would accompany the man or woman to a social gathering or in their pent house of the sorts. That and Sienna cost most than just your average street walker.

For her evening off, she ended up attending a charity event with a strapping young man. He stood to be about six foot, broad shoulders and an athletic build. Dark hair groomed to perfection with the astounding contrast of a vibrant blue eyes. The man was pure eye candy and it was men like him that truly made the job exciting and enjoyable.

Several laughs, conversations, and glasses of white zinfandel wine later and they were back at his place. This guy had the nicest place she had ever been. Can I marry him instead? crossed her mind as she observed his place. The granite counter tops in the kitchen with the dark cherry oak cupboards to the detailed french doors that led into the bedroom. There was without a doubt that this guy was loaded. He wouldn't miss a few things right?

Her evening went on, and honestly he was a good lay. Plus those abs were nothing, but a piece of art that she could stare at for hours. After he had fallen asleep she slipped out of the bed and put her undergarments back on and looked around the room. Most people noticed if you took something from their room, as it was their own personal space, so she took her purse and went out of the bedroom to see what she could find.

Searching around in the home, she found a few interesting pieces that looked expensive, but she couldn't just take a decoration. That was when she started to look through drawers and see what she could find. Nothing valuable. She cursed under her breath and finally returned to the bedroom.

From there she saw the ensuite bathroom and instantly mulled over how much of a dumb ass she was. She headed that way, and closed the door behind her. Looking she found a few expensive things that could be of value and she put them in her purse. Before she walked out she flushed the toilet, to give her an alibi in case he had woken. When she saw that the gorgeous looking specimen was still soundly asleep she put her black dress back on, and saw herself out.
The morning came entirely too soon. Especially since she was awoken by a loud knocking noise on her door. Fucking hell she thought to herself and pushed the covers back on her bed, throwing on a big t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Walking to the front door she grasped the door knob and twisted it after unlocking her door.

The now opened door revealed her father. The man she hated, but the man that also kept checking up on her every now and then. She left the open door knowing he'd walk in, and went to pour her father a cup of coffee. They sat down at the table and just looked at each other.

"When are you going to smarten up and apply for college? You can't just live here all your life and work in that stupid restaurant. I didn't raise you to live this way." The man said in his stern voice. As per usual the man was trying to run her life even though she was twenty-two and perfectly able to do things on her own. Heavily sighing she looked down at the table preparing the usual speech she normally gives her dad when he asks these things. "I've been wanting to save up money to go to school dad, I told you this." She said and knew full well what he would say next.

"I will pay for you, if it means you will no longer be fucking around doing whatever." He said in retort. Luckily her father didn't know that she had a side job. If he did, well she wouldn't be alive right now and having the conversation with the man. "I want to be able to pay for myself, and feel I've accomplished something dad."

The conversation went on for an hour and ended in a whole 'why can't you just be like your brother?' the painful word she hears almost every month from her father. Always about why she can't just be as successful as her brother or do as well as him. In all honesty it wasn't what Sienna wanted. She wanted to live each day she had as if there was no certainty if tomorrow would come along. She honestly didn't have any goals for a career in mind yet, she was still searching and she found it to be perfectly okay.


People came in one after the other. The first part of her shift she had been learning how to man the bar and do drinks. It had been awhile since she worked there, but if she picked up another skill at The Little Lady she could possibly work a bit more. Although, as more people walked in she had gone back to waitressing and taking peoples orders.

The hum of the room grew more and more as each minute passed and more people had stuffed there way into the place. She noticed a few faces as they seemed familiar. She could hear the mumbling of people all around her. Some were having a conversation about work, others about some guy they slept with, or just anything in general. Sienna even heard a few times of some people insulting her, but it didn't really bother her.

Everything was happening so fast, and honestly it was a miracle she had kept her shit together for this long. Her mind was all over the place, as she tried to focus on what table was next and which tables still had an order to place. Not to mention the drunk guys who would cat call her from the bar, or ask her to bring them some food.

Finally she dumped down an appetizer at the one table and she was a bit frantic at that point, and mumbled an apology for being so sloppy with handing out the food. That was when the male at the table which she had seen a few times, had handed her a tip. As she walked away she stuffed the money in her apron and was very appreciative of the tip.

After catching up a bit she noticed Simon was in the place and a smirk grew on her lips. It was calmed down for a bit so she decided she'd go to say hi. She came up onto the right side of Simon and looked him up and down. "You do know where you are right? A bit over dressed I'd say, but you look stunning Sime."

(Will colour soon just need to go somewhere)

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Fiona Abramo
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Heaven was all cut up. Its percolation of sunlight chased the night away and apprehended the moon for daring to be so full. Senna considered herself a hellion in all Luna’s phases, even the bare semi circular solitude that often hid behind skyscrapers. The trope didn’t go unnoticed by those that it awakened. Especially not her. Real life vampires didn’t prey on blood so much as themselves and gluttony, and they walked dauntless in the daylight, even if a bit hungover.

From the stretch of area between the door and bed, there was nothing but a trail of evidence. It littered its way across twelve or so feet. Started with a purse vomiting keys on tile, paused about seven squares in for the alleged 4AM, “I think I’m gonna’ be sick”, and ended centimeters from the boxspring in the soles of abandoned heels. It had to be considered a small victory if nothing else. Making it to the bed and leaving the shoes. Not bottling out before the left one was completely removed. Counts for something, right? Discounting all of this sloshed disarray, the Brooklyn flat was as nice as ninepence. Everything was ivory. Squared and neat as a pin. The place was small, but so was she.

Slate tides imbued flushed cheeks that were being slapped into consciousness when Senna peeled herself from the mattress like she’d been steamrolled. The mess of a mane hid all the features of her doll-like visage. Peeping out like a lone captive was the edge of her nose, accompanied by sulking lips, plush and parted in desperate need of H2O. Her feet thrashed their way out of a sheet tangle, then went still with precaution. One hell of a wake up call was catching a bony knee to the groin. A kick in the shin. She half-expected morning prologues necessitated by being sloppy while she assaulted herself. “Hello, hi. Senna. And you? How do you take your coffee? Do you need to charge your phone?” Numbers done, no matter how stupid in a potion-induced narcosis, were never a reason for loss of manners. Each time she’d open sleepy eyes to the relic of a crazy night, she’d divulge her reception. Apologies if necessary. Flash a smile just a few teeth short of a grin. Awkwardly avoid bodily contact, go as the crow flies to the Keurig. But for the third morning in a row, she’d woken up alone, and likely gone to bed the same.

She’d overdosed on the accessibility of carnal companionship. Or, how that rapport fattened her pockets and left her inattentive to suitors. Men with their cups running over who couldn’t speak on fetishes unless behind a dead bolted door. Divorcees, usually. Vagabonds. Bartenders. CEO’s. The usual femme she’d be fixated on. One she’d find under some magenta light off of Greenpoint Ave. The prevalent niña bonita, someone to loop arms, bang out some lines, barhop with. It was no longer unprecedented. It was fucking depressing.

There were those nights with Gunner, though. They fell between the cracks more often than she’d like to admit, lost in a mantle of blurred reverie. He was an amulet for things strayed in her life. An apparent exclusive constant. Their scattered encounters never became less charming or homely, come what may. She’d seen the aortal throb in his neck many times, from withdrawal, from compulsion. Made sure that he didn’t hurtle himself over some precipice when playing with pin pricks and powder. Acknowledged his infernal need the way he did hers, with the acceptance and lack of interrogation she’d always desired. They were asylums to each other. Quiet sometimes. Tempests the others. The rare times he wished to speak sentiment, she perched herself on palms to listen. When it was her turn she’d flop on the force of his chest and mumble, “I’m glad you’re still here. I’m not interesting by myself.” The rest she’d slur in Spanish so that there were still secrets worth saving. He’d pick out only the words he knew as a result of being around her family growing up, the ones she commonly hissed or crooned. They’d forget in sleep about everything and meet again in the morning. It did the pair no justice to call them friends, victims of circumstance - acquaintances. And to call them lovers was de trop all together. He may have learned every dip and curve of her body by note, but this wasn’t from a sultry handful of stunts. It was from holding her hair back and having to carry her over his shoulder when she was KO’d by virtue of dope.

Usted me salvó en más de un sentido. You are the last good thing about this life.

It was to no surprise that landing her ass on a barstool at the Little Lady came with consequences of conflicting company. There existed little justification to shower and start fresh for such a shit show, so she’d tied her hair back in a frayed bun and threw on some gold, some Carisa Rene half white, half mint dress. Victorian lace tailoring that made her an oblong detail. An oddity in the backdrop of a cafe packed wall to wall with boojie mafia offspring. Hell, she’d even showed up early. However, ask her, and she couldn't tell you how it was that she got there. How she managed to remedy delirium tremens from the night before without having to be wheeled in wearing a paper bag and sunglasses. But by golly, she god damn did it.

ImageHer mother’s rosary dangled from her narrow neck like a heavy memorandum as Bel approached not far off, bone-paled pressure at the skin of his hands when he tallied up the Bates presence. His scrape was sluggish over Julia which he didn’t realize until Senna backhanded his thick skull, “Dog.” Whereas Bel was insolent and strapped, Senna was a surveyor not froggy enough to leap when it meant all out genocide. She felt Gunner come in and sit seven seats down the way but she didn’t look once. Even in innocence, there were tremors that would tip the boiling pot. It was stupid to assume otherwise. Stupid to even bat an eye at a hot little mess who had nothing but desire to watch the world around them burn. Stupid all around to gamble in a small space. One not their own. Stupid, stupid. Someone was always watching, even stupid assholes knew that. In a snap of a retort he’d shine through Senna with his mirthful grin, make a joke and go on assuming his little sister knew absolutely nothing. Pendejo. Stupid, stupid son of a bitch.

By what Senna presumed a counterstrike, he steered in tight beside Chloe. Ever an enigma of a woman [a good one at that], she moved to face him probably only to show homage to her drug dealer. But she wore a smile like a good luck jewel that could turn black as any stone in the event of being crossed. If Bel didn’t see that, then he was just as much the fool only Senna knew him to be. Chloe reciprocated niceties, delicate poise in her wrist as she sipped cranberry juice. Underneath all that sociable gimmicking was a very poisonous predator. The type of carnivore that came to be as a direct result of knowing only survival for a very long time, it’s why she glittered like forbidden fruit. On this particular day she looked more business than tenth-story latex fetish where she and Senna last bumped heads, and the mutual nod of regard was given in a sort of, “You wanna’ do it again sometime?” way. Before she could open her mouth to extend an invitation, a dove-decorated palm accidentally splashed her personal space and sent a scotch spilling on to the jade cotton of her skirt.

Forgiveness was such a timely tool. She used it in waving Jasper off, lips quirking without a trace of irritation, “No worries, I gotta’ get it dry-cleaned anyway. No, por favor, it’s fine.” The flats of her fingers pressed the fabric dry with a bar napkin as a bearded man behind the lines handed a few extra. His bebita bounced up and down like he requested backup on matters [he didn’t], and bundled a bunch in her tiny paws to offer to Senna on tippy-toes. “Gracias hermosa, sheesh. You run this place? No wonder all these people are packing in, you’re one hard worker. You gotta’ treat yourself.” A riddled expression passed over the girl. Senna folded a five dollar bill and balanced her weight on one rung of a bar stool to present the mini barista with, “You know, reward yourself! Thanks for the napkins.”

There Bel went again. Half in conversation, half out. He eyed Dominic Bates at his crook. Found Senna’s ex by the door, daffodil-colored hair weaving through the crowd, and again settled on the tenebrous presence of Julia. Like they had a fat bone to pick, she was icing him the fuck out, and Bel was apologizing with baby bister eyes in a room full of people. The fatale ordered a drink piled high with whipped cream. Sat up right beside Gunner with Simon mere inches left. And what did this do but put Baby on Julia’s radar as the next best socket for her brother’s fuck ups. Senna already guessed the beverage was coming her way, and accepted it warmly knowing she was much better at quarantining pestilence than anybody else in the vicinity.

You wanna’ go walking in the moonlight with me, honey? You wanna’ hold my hand?

That expanse of gray matter was churning like the seven seas and had a tendency to ebb at the very edges of Gunner’s sanity and nip at Bel’s heels. Baby knew both well enough to pin outcomes to the board without a single error. It was a leaden storm cloud which encompassed the substance of impending bloodshed. And at this rate one might as well have written Senna up as a damned meteorologist. Because a shit storm was a’brewin’ and she’d spotted it ten miles back, high in the sky, clearing all the light out of the world. It blew in by and by, abaft pissed off pique worn like Valentino in chic finish.

Just like somebody’d painted animus on her, she exuded cognitive sass that spelt, “Miss Do Not Fuck With Me”. Though certainly not the baby, she had the chip on her shoulder to match. Which Senna could level with, honestly. She herself was never one with the lunacy which trafficked etiquette and opiates, gun slinging, the severing of fingers and tongues. But there Julia was. Surrounded by brothers that loved her, who would fight to a bloody death in her honor. Good men [gone astray, but good men nonetheless]. And she was what - rejected? A black sheep? Fat chance.

How blind was she to see only Bel as a worthy place to put her energy? And brush off her family in this devil-may-care teenage tantrum trip? That was something Senna could not level with. However, the brazen display in Julia’s little friendly drink reassigned the divide. It set them worlds apart. She was bouncing on the splintering floorboards of warfare in someone else’s territory without a second thought while Senna bore the least amount of weight on frailties. She was just trying to get through the night, Julia wanted to swing from entrails. The only thing keeping them synonymous in all the chaos was their taste for shameless sacrilege.

“That’s a nice secret you got there, where’d you get it?”
“...Your brother.”

The hourglass had been flipped like a switch, and the only ones listening to the hiss of sand were these two. Julia put some sway in her hauteur, like she was about to take her clothes off to the havoc on the horizon. Like it was really getting her off. Quiet, Baby threw an elbow up onto the counter to stare dead into her adversary while barely touching the brim, absorbing the pitiful intent behind the note beneath. Thoughtfully she laid a cheek to her palm, sucking the whipped cream off an opposite index. Full on fellatio: painstaking without the smirk. She imitated finger-licking before picking up the glass and handing it to Bel with her knuckles knocking his chest, interrupting him mid-toast as he flirted, “You’re a party kind of girl, huh.” If Julia was still playing the game, she’d know it wasn’t holding Senna’s interest. Cheap.

ImageAnd all at once - Gunner heard the hissing. Dominic’s head snapped in the direction of it, too, like there was a snared line directly attached to his head and Senna’s collision with Bel’s sternum. High spirits hindered in him and his shoulders tightened. Honestly, she was surprised the shot glass in his hand didn’t shatter. Instinctively Chloe reached for one of Bel’s arms at the same time Senna did, “You mentioned a party? Vamos hermano, Chloe and I know this really nice club by the Mandarin. Come on - let’s just go.” There were children present. Families. This was probably all up to par with Julia’s plan, but Senna was not going to allow it. Nobody had time [nor stomach] to digest what was going on between sheets and family, not here. Not now. Having brought that blowjob to light was also a misstep on her part, ‘cause now it was looking like one of the Bates boys sent an innuendo down the bar. Senna as the beneficiary: 99 problems and a bitch is the main one. Well, shit. It was better than the alternative, right? Well played, Jubesy, well played. But I got more tricks up my sleeve.

“What are you going to do, fucking fight your best friend?”
Tick. Tick.

Fragments of glass were sent across the oak countertops. There it is, the royal flush. The final and averting move. Got ‘em. Whipped cream wept over the wooden surface in its non-finished acclaim. Blood coursed between clenched digits that went flayed in seconds, “That pedazo de mierda is no friend of mine.” Bel’s vernacular became icy and intrepid. Wine color stained denim as he rolled up a sleeve and shoved his way toward Gunner, one mitt still full of broken glass with intent to shred skin. Hani, petite even still, in peripherals, pressed her way toward the madness, bumping the shoulder of Fiona on the way. Senna and Chloe had lost their grip and released Bel like a rabid dog. It was looking bad, and sounding worse. Abruptly Dominic barked something, sent Gunner to his full height, even Simon, too. Stentorian disorder. This is how Senna imagined massacres, without breathing room and options came the solution of liquidation. One way or another, she was gonna’ figure out how to prevent it from getting that far. “Hermano!” She shouted in a taut rasp as he neared Gunner and a multitude of noises exploded in her eardrums - wares dropping, timber snapping.

How much is this gonna’ cost me?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates
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Dominic never was a fan of mornings. The bright sunlight always seemed too harsh, too exposing of things better left unseen, or unnoticed. Harsh and unyielding, burning down on his neck and shoulders like it could burn the sin right out of his skin. He preferred nights. The soft glow of the moon, the cooler temperature of the air, the safety of darker deeds wrapped in caring shadows. The light was vulnerable. The dark was on his side.

Unfortunately, life didn't allow him the ability to rise with the moon. As a child, the sun had demanded his attention for education, as a young adult, for prison. Now, for responsibility. Dominic rose too early, and cursed the bright rays that hid behind the heavy draw of his curtains. His mornings were rarely interesting. His bed sheets always cold. The house quiet. Gunner wouldn't wake for hours, the others hadn't been around. As usual...Dom was alone, even when he really wasn't.

At this point in his life, the eldest Bates had a routine. Piss, shower, brush his teeth. Face the image in the mirror looking back at him. He took a moment to trim his beard, to run gel through his fingers and push the longer hairs at the top of his head into an artistic point. He sprayed himself with a dash of rustic cologne, then went to get dressed. A black cotton v-neck, his fathers watch fastened around his wrist, paired with fitted black trousers and feet shoved into untied combat boots. Clothes made the man, but Dominic had never been one to be made.

He had lunch with his mother. A weekly endeavor, always penciled in between this day or the next. While Dominic loved her unquestionably, her searching gaze always felt like the sunlight - like it saw too much, and seeped into parts of him he'd rather leave unseen. Dom let her chatter settle around him like a comfortable blanket as they ate at their usual restaurant, more focused on his chicken, but always with one ear tuned to her. She never expected much of him personally, for which he was grateful. While not the precious jewel in her eye that Simon was, Dom was her first born, and they held a certain understanding for each other that none of the others would ever truly get.

"Your brother didn't come home last night."

Dominic hummed in order to let her know he was listening, but didn't bother to reply. Simon was a big boy, for one thing, and just because he lived with their mother didn't mean she should stick her nose in every move he made. If there was something to be worried about, Dom was sure he would know before she did.

"I just...worry about him. It's a big world out there," she said it with all the nonchalance any mob wife would. She may not have been born in their world, but Carmine Bates was no delicate house flower. However, he supposed with any mother in her position, he could understand why she worried about what her children got into.

Dominic sighed and stretched out his long legs under the table, glancing up briefly from his food. His mother was studying her wine glass with rapt attention, but she eventually met his gaze. There was a bit of since, and he knew that this time his usual grunt of agreement wasn't going to cut it. He needed words. "He's fine, mother."

He didn't know that for sure, but he'd be willing to bet his youngest brother was either sleeping off a night well spent, or wrapped around some nameless body still in bed. Either way, it was nothing to worry about. Not yet, at least.

After lunch, he tended to some business for awhile, then headed down to the Little Lady for decidedly more-things-he-didn't-want-to-deal with. Dominic was the first to arrive to what was sure to be a busy party, but that wasn't anything unusual. He nodded to Jona behind the bar, got himself half a glass of whiskey, and sat at the far end of the bar while he waited for the room to fill up.

It didn't take long. There was chatter, a bustling staff, smoke and laughs, drinks being passed around behind smirks, something spilling down the back of Senna Zaire's shirt, Bel's barely covert gaze, both of his brothers, and his sister...Crowded. He found a spot by himself, finished his whiskey and put a cigar between his teeth.

Dominic tilted his head back against the wall, let the nicotine fill his lungs like an old friend he'd missed desperately, rose tattooed knuckles to the cigar to pull it away and blow smoke up to the ceiling. For a moment, he was at peace. For a moment, he might as well have been alone. Until he heard it, the sound of trouble. Dominic's head snapped up and over, and he watched Senna's hand connect with Bel's chest, watched her and Chloe both reach for a respective arm. It took him minutes to asses the situation he had unwisely not been paying attention to, and Dom felt his teeth clinch slightly as he waited.

With his attention now rapt, the shattering of the shot glass sounded through Dominic's ears like a gunshot, even though he wasn't nearly close enough for it to sound anything like that in reality. Irritation vibrated down Dom's spine in the realization that nothing was fucking easy, and he sat up a little straighter in his seat as he watched Bel stalk towards Gunner. Normally, Dominic would let it go, Gunner could handle himself, let Bel chew what he decided to bite off.

But this, here, was not the time nor the place, and Cristobel Zarie should fucking know that, but like most his reactions were on a hair trigger and not thought through. Dom sighed, realizing he was going to have to not only use his voice, but his authority. Finally, he opened his mouth, barked out an order. A simple one. A 'stand down', 'don't bite back'. It got not only Gunner's attention, but Simon's as well, which was extra helpful.

The last thing Dominic wanted was to not be allowed back into Jona's place, but if a fight were to break out...well, he'd do what needed to be done. For some reason, he doubted it would happen. While not adverse to messes, his current company was one that knew which battles to fight. Surely, someone would put Bel back on his leash before Gunner had to.

All in a day's work.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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"There ain't no way in fucking hell I'm letting you out without a scratch."

It was just like any other drugged up night. The patrons of The Little Lady had ceased to envelop themselves in the heavy scent of sizzling meat and the aroma of wine. While she certainly seemed high class, The Little Lady wasn’t far from that level to be honest. She looked the part as did the employees. The food her master cooked was also of that same level. The only discrepancy that any random patron would find are the people as it was full of players that each had a different role to play although there were a few who refused to go by the script.

However, that was the previous night when the man of the hour was closing shop with a lady on each arm. He was a lucky man to have such beautiful women although the smallest of the two was only as tall as his thigh being only a six years of age. The little nymph was an exact replica of the one who had captured the grisly man’s heart. With soft wispy locks of dark mahogany while her predecessor had lush chocolate tresses spilling down her shoulders. The man himself was of similar color in regards to the mane that grew sprouted from his chin but he was of a much paler complexion that his women. Unlike the other two, he was a grim looking bear of a man while they were soft and skittish yet they excited.

The next day was much like the one before but it somehow seemed busier than normal. The grump who was working behind the scenes that morning was carefully watching as he prepared meals. Eventually the day wore on and his beloved Anna joined him with daughter in tow, an infectious smile plastered on her small face. Hours passed and for a while traffic cleared out and only a few had filled the many booths and tables and one was at the bar already drinking himself into a drunken stupor. It was at times like these that the little one was sent over to the mother who manned the reception table.

Some more hours passed by and things began to pick up again. One of his employees joined in the game of servitude, working behind the bar before returning to the job she was better at, serving the people. A pair of sharp green eyes followed the every move of the patrons of his dream made real, ever watchful of any mishap that may come about. That same pair also watched over the young'un who had somehow managed to squeeze herself behind the bar which, considering her small size, was not that astounding. The little lady giggled, grabbing at her father's thick arm and pulled herself up. The man himself did not seem to notice as he kept up with orders just fine.

Finally it came time for the real trouble to show its face. A stern expression crept its way across his already gruff looks. The beard and thick eye brows only seemed to intensify his unwilling glare by those sharp eyes. They seemed to stab at some while gently fondling others, a hint of mirth in them. The latter was only ever shown to his girls. He didn’t want to lose that harsh facade, that was actually reality, but there have been exceptions to this and that tenderness was given to others he was more familiar with.

A few notable faces entered the confines of the Little Lady prompting the bartender to flick his gaze in their general direction at least once or twice since they arrived. Finally one seated herself at the bar. What made her stand out wasn’t that she was familiar but that shock of blue contrasted with the Little Lady’s fall fashion. Another of a sharper nature landed herself on the worn out bar stools. She blended in with the Lady’s colors much like another face that seated himself between blue and angle. The new face belonged to a gentleman man who had no doubt been places, both the metaphorical and physical kinds. Scanning the three faces, the bartender knew a druggie when he saw one. It was a face he had peered at many years ago but now that was hidden behind the downturn of his lips and the beard that overtook his lower jaw.

There was a pale pipsqueak who had spilled his drink on hastily dressed young woman. Observing her for a moment with his body leaning back slightly, she seemed to have forgiven the other young man. Said young man got a harsh glare from the man behind the bar, he didn’t care for kids spilling trouble onto others laps in such an uncouth way. He handed her some napkins to dab at the stains and it seemed the small one wished to do the same.

“Gracias hermosa, sheesh. You run this place? No wonder all these people are packing in, you’re one hard worker. You gotta’ treat yourself.” Those words took him by slight surprise as shown by the way his brows furrowed, yet a there it was. That unmistakable warmth was matched by a barely noticeable upturn of the lips. He gave her a sideways glance as she pushed a five dollar bill in his daughter's direction. “Say thank you Meg.” Those words sprouted out of nowhere from behind the thick hair that had grown close to his lips, nearly hiding their presence altogether. The look on Meg’s face was sweet to say the least. She fingered her lips for a moment before she did as daddy told her. A giggle came along with the thank you as did that smile of hers.

A nod here, a nod there was the only response a few got when they ordered, so when the man with the steely jawline asked for a bourbon, he got one without pause. He took note of his interactions with the blue one but it wasn’t his business to pry openly, only to watch. At the other end of the bar was fellow who had on him saplings of hair that were just itching to become a full grown forest. He ordered two shots of rum which were given with something of a flourish. Nearby was a head of straw colored tresses. A pretty thing that looked just about ready to get eaten but there was a gleam in her eyes that said otherwise. His hunch was correct when she ordered a blowjob for the other one (Senna) at the end of the bar. He merely did as he was told and pushed it in front of said pretty girl.

Finally a familiar face graced itself in the Little Lady. Had she been a person, she would no doubt appreciate such a pretty face and would welcome him regardless of the time into her arms. Catching the wave and nod in his direction, the bartender gave a nod of recognition. As usual he was overly dressed and he plopped down to the right of the blonde. "Jona, old-fashioned, please. Make it a strong one" Jonathan was already at work with the young man's drink but as usually, chose to let that charming smile of his pass him. Simon frequented the bar enough times that Jon grew accustomed to predicting what sort of drinks he would order and by the looks of it, a strong one would do the trick. He was also one of the few who often garnered that soft look from Jona.

“Already got you covered kid. By the way, you look like hell.” he said, pushing his drink into Simon’s hands. Green flickered over to Sienna who had stopped by momentarily. He took this as his cue to leave the two be and Jon returned to his duties with Meghan scurrying around his legs and giving him glasses. Despite only being six years old, the gal had a decent knowledge on where everything was.

Suddenly the sound of glass shattering broke the hustle and bustle within the Little Lady. Jon stiffened, as did his wife who looked back over at him with concern gleaming in her eyes. Instinctively, one of the father’s hands found their place on the small shoulders of his daughter while the other gripped the cane he had close by [since he was in the bar, he didn’t need it as much]. He heard the hiss from before and had been keen to watch it for a moment but there was seemingly no preventing the explosion that was to occur. His body stiffened, rearing to it’s full height of six feet and five inches and a hundred and sixty four pounds of muscle along with every other able body that worked in his service.

He bent down to whisper in the ears of his daughter and, understanding the situation at hand, nodded her head. She knew exactly what to do and what not to do. Hide in her special spot [a small opening under the bar which was pretty thick] and don’t come out until her father or the more reputable employees came to get her. Standing back up, Jona glared daggers at the back of Bel’s head. His mouth set in a firm line. His steely green orbs flicked over to Dominic, barking at his boys to stand down but those words did not apply to the one who approached them. He placed his hands on the cold marble of the bar and continued to glare. The other employees were now on alert and many had set down their trays of food in preparation for a fight. The old time regulars were accustomed to fights breaking out, so they either continued eating or silently watched the trouble brew.

Jona was not about to have the eldest Zaire child rustle the skirts of the Little Lady. No way in fucking hell would he let the place get damaged but it was already too late. The damage had been dealt as tables were smashed and silverware thrown aside. A few of the employees, the trusted individuals that were there from the start, already set about to halting the conflict. The man behind the bar was no longer that man. Instead he briskly walked over to Bel, as best as his limp would allow him. With cane in hand, he brought it down hard on the back of the Zaire’s eldest.

Standing at his full height, a fiery rage erupted in those once steely green eyes. “Stop your damn temper tantrum Zaire or I’ll flay you like the shitty little twerp that you are. If you wanna have a brawl, take it outside but not under my roof. I ain’t tolerating no fucking messes by you boys.” Jona clenched his jaw and saw that a couple of the employees had pointed one or two guns in the general direction of the brawl.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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On mornings like these it takes a minute to find a rhythm. Kind of an odd thing for a New Yorker, don’t you think? It was the kind of place where, even in the darkness of the early morning hours, men still stand on the corners exaggerating about how full their lives are and women cling to greasy children as they wait for the train. Drunks still stand outside of stores even as their shutters block the windows and demand to be catered to. It seemed as if nothing ever really stopped in this place. And yet there Jasper was, his pale figure spread out in the bathroom like a body in a mausoleum. A half hearted loll of his neck as he tried to lift his head; a leg hanging awkwardly over the edge of the empty bathtub in an attempt to stand. Or flop over, at the very least. Try as he might, Jasper couldn’t shake the chill running through his body. Not even when he was literally shaking. And while his mind, body, and soul only wanted one thing, the reality of the situation left him essentially paralyzed.

But it’s true what they say about people not surviving in this world without an edge. Even as he felt the flicker of consciousness he had left going on and off, on and off, a muscle spasm, like clockwork, brought his body to a lurching upright position and forced him to suck in a breath. Good. And just when Jasper thought the universe was trying to send him in another direction, his body decides to fight for what it wants. Newly re-energized, he knew it wouldn’t be long before he crashed again, a victim of low blood pressure and foolishly thinking five milligrams would net him a few hours of sleep without having to seriously dent his stash. Little bitch Jasper thought, wiping his sweaty hands on his pants before dragging himself over the edge of the bathtub and onto the floor. Five milligrams for Jasper was child’s play. He'd get a better high chugging cold medicine, he knew that, and with his newly found partnership with the youngest Bates, there was no end to the dope trail assuming he played his cards right.

Like any good fiend, Jasper had smack all over the place. Needles stashed under pillows like teeth, filling the space in cabinets where food should’ve went, and in cracks in the wall like treasure. Or like contraband. Point being, he didn’t have to stumble far to find his pride and joy. The best fuck he’d ever received. The warm hug when you’re feeling down, and the love you never got from mom and dad. Jasper grabbed a hold of the sink and through pure determination and anticipation alone, wobbled onto his feet. He let all of his weight lean against the sink as he pulled open the medicine cabinet. Syringes, lighters, shoe strings, surgical tubing, spoons, and that good ole’ white china. Just the sight made his skin itch, and underneath the buzzing, artificial glow of his aging fluorescent lights, he couldn’t help but think that this is what heaven must be like.

Like a dog eyeing food, Jasper’s mouth watered at the sight of the powder flowing out from it’s tiny package and onto the beat-up spoon, one of several he kept in each room for ease of access. He struggled for a moment to get a good light. His fingers still shook and he couldn’t help but get a little ahead of himself in anticipation of a good high. He was staring at at least a few hours worth - twenty or so milligrams. Once the light caught, he held it under the spoon and watched the solid turn to liquid like some kind of voodoo magic. Transfer the contents of the spoon to the syringe and you're one step closer feeling alive again.

One end of the shoe string between his teeth, Jasper hastily wound the other end around his arm, wrestling with it until his knuckles burned white and his fingers were warm from the friction. Then he tucked the loose end and waited. And waited. Sure, his arms weren’t exactly blank canvases. Track marks lined his limbs like grisly constellations. Tattoo’s masked his veins, making the search for a good, un-collapsed injection spot something like a game he didn’t like to play. Jasper yanked his head back and pulled his arm forward in an attempt to tighten the string. Help the process along. And yet none of those blue and purple lines would pop up.

Fuck me. Fuck this city. Fuck this apartment. Jasper spat the shoelace from his mouth in frustration, a cold wave of realization washing over his body. He yanked the string off of his arm, the braided pattern of it’s stitches engraved in his skin. The combination of anxiety and dope sickness was already starting to send a wave a nausea through his body. He’d never shoot up if he had to search for a vein and attempt to make sure his vomit landed in the toilet and not on himself. With as much quickness as he could muster, Jasper lowered himself to the ground, falling the last bit of the way. Then he jabbed the syringe right into his jugular, pulling back the plunger to mix the dope with his blood before sending the whole solution coursing into his body. The first second was always the longest. His body was still cold, still trembling, still cursing him to the grave for destroying and betraying himself. And for what? For this? For fevers, and bleeding arms, and uncontrollable emotions, and bone pains and never eating enough?

Exactly this. After all, being a slave to dependence was a small price to pay for a moment of happiness.

“Ugh, man,” Jasper whispered to himself, his head gently falling back to rest against the edge of the bathtub, “just fuck me up”. Was it a comfortable resting spot? Absolutely not. But at this point, he could literally die and he wouldn’t even care. Wouldn’t flinch. Wouldn’t notice his life was slipping away. All he could think about was the rush of warmth flowing through his body with every beat of his heart, a marked change from the frigid embrace he felt upon waking up. Aside from an itchy feeling where he shot up, Jasper couldn’t think of a single thing wrong in his life. Everything was falling into place. Jasper pulled the syringe out of his neck and smiled stupidly at the little device. Who invented them? What was his name? Does he know that in this moment, if no one else really appreciated him, Jasper appreciated the inventor of the syringe? He eventually passed out, affectionately scratching at his injection site and thinking to himself how lucky he was to be together once again with his one true love.

There’s no telling how long he had been out. Jasper woke up with his face pressed against the tile, sweaty and sticky, his tongue feeling like sandpaper in his mouth and a headache forming on one side of his head. What he didn’t feel, however, was like complete shit. Jasper’s sleepy limbs could be shaken off in no time. His hard worn appearance, on the other hand, couldn’t be washed away so easily. He caught the sight of his face in the mirror and ran his hand through his wild hair. Raccoon bags and red-rimmed eyes stared back at him against a deathly white face. Jasper was aware that he looked like a user.

And since he didn’t give a fuck, Jasper wasn’t pressured to look completely normal when his destination was The Little Lady. His dry mouth was something only liquor could help, and he needed something else to do before he got high again. He splashed some water on his face and ran his hands through his hair. Then Jasper peeled off his clothes and changed into a pair of tight jeans and a oversized shirt he found on the ground. Both black. Both wrinkly and indicating an incredibly lazy individual. But there was something to be said for an addict bothering to change clothes and leave the confines of their house in the first place.

Soon enough he was at the bar, spilling a drink on none other than Senna Z. “Shit,” he mumbled, more to himself than her, the hand that spilled the drink still outstretched and his eyes locked onto the stained cotton as if his own body were on a two second delay while everyone else carried on in real time. “My bad, baby,” he nodded, reaching for some napkins in an attempt to help but settled for a smirk when she seemed content to handle it herself. She insisted it was fine and Jasper left it at that. He grabbed a scotch of his own and scanned the room for easy targets before another big shot caught his attention. Simon. Jasper couldn’t help but feel smug after seeing the guy. He wasn’t the first person Jasper fucked in exchange for dope. Though he could argue that this case was less whoring himself out and more of an ongoing business transaction.

Speaking of selling himself, Jasper downed his drink and set his sights for a familiar figure standing in the corner. He wouldn’t even have to break a sweat, having worked that particular angle in the past. Before he could make a move, though, he heard glass break, words exchange, and turned around just in time to see the show of angry gangsters unfold.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Jaehyun Kim Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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Two heels to the soft, carpeted floor and she was up. She was the only one up at such an hour, as usual. Six in the morning and the petite honeypot was ready to take on the day. More or less. There was a dim strip of sunlight leaking through the thick, red curtains of her ever so prestigious bedroom, as if the sun were afraid to wake her. What poor mister sun didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. The space was clean, almost untouched, because it basically was. Hani had spent the first hour past midnight pretending to be deep in slumber, and the better half of the night patrolling through the new York streets, even catching a quick coffee with Jun. Today, more than usual, she needed an escape. A lot was going on. Too much, too quickly. Business here, business there, that’s all the Kim family ever touched on. Simple Good mornings, Good nights or even How was your day had practically vanished years ago, along with the five strangers’ sense of family. Hani never complained. Not out loud. Not anymore. She would, had she thought it would make an inkling of a difference, but why complicate things? As if they weren’t already.

”Good morning Ella, you’re looking extra cute today” dark haired girl beemed. If a gray tabby’s attention were all she ever needed in life, she could consider herself the happiest human in existence. The soft purrs hung at her heels, carefully tracing every step. Who would be lonely with company such as this? As if through clairvoyance, Ella strutted a few feet ahead, making every twist and turn before Hani did, leading them both to an empty, unwelcoming kitchen. Yet another tradition Hani had grown used to. The refrigerator. This was always her first stop. Other pit stops in her mornings included a freshly brewed cup of Italian espresso, a generous helping of waffles and/or pancakes and attempting to leave the “protection” of the estate without being apprehended. Generally, most of those checked out. This morning would have been the perfect one to do so. However, it’s routine was a bit askewed. Jahyun was clearly still asleep, after the night he had, it came as no surprise to his sister. To ignorant eyes, one would think that only the two of them formed part of the this extended, too large family in this too large house. Regardless, Hani was grateful. Grateful for him and grateful for her sanity.

One. Two. Three? Is three too many? How many pancakes was one allowed to have at a time again. Was there a rule for this? She was neither a cook nor a food expert. Three seemed like a nice, rounded number. Three circular clouds of dough with a side of too much syrup and just enough of the hot, semi-bitter liquid to wake him up. The soft purrs continued to follow her. Across the kitchen, up the twirling stairway, down the hall to the last door on the left. Was there a need to knock. If so then it was too late. Once inside, she resorted to tip-toeing. The objective of this mission was to wake him up, but seeing his peaceful face hidden in between piles of blankets and white pillows completely crumbled her resolve. What to do now? Breakfast was already served. A quarter past seven in the morning but the alarm resting just a few feet away was set for half past. Was it cruel to wake him up fifteen whole minutes earlier.

This could have been planned out better, honey

The sense of urgency slowly returned to her and two small palms pressed against the soft mattress beside the sleeping figure. ”Jaejae, I’m up, the sun is up and the pancakes are fresh!” Too chipper? It appeared so, but there was no taking it back now. A few noises escaped the no-longer sleeping Jaehyun, tugging a smile from Hani’s naturally rosy lips. ”morning”. A quick peck on his cheek and she was gone. He could handle the rest of the morning on his own, or so she hoped. In any case, nothing a quick shout for her wouldn’t fix. Ella left her owner to join the comfort of her uncle’s bed sheets. Sooner or later he would kick her out. The morning crawled by in conjunction with Hani’s lack of motivation to do anything other than clean around the house to keep busy. At an old snail’s pace the hours passed. One, many times had she cleaned the same spot again. It had reached the point of robotic motions while her mind was who knows where.

ImageReplacing the duster with her mobile device, the notification light shone in her still make-up-less face, bringing with it a glimpse of hope. A party. A party? Was this the sign she had been waiting for? Who, what, why? All questions she should have asked herself before leaving, but were overshadowed by excitement and the eagerness of going out on the town. It was daylight out, which meant there was no need to be sneaky. The entirety of her closet was raided, and somehow she ended up wearing the very first items of clothing she had found.

Hair. Check
Make up. Check
Cell phone. Keys. Money. Check

It was crowded, as to be expected. Everyone showed up all at once as if summoned by a higher being. Two quick glances around the space and he was spotted. Kind of hard to miss. In the midst of her internal battle between right and wrong, shoulds and shouldn'ts, he shifted, moved across the car with ease to keep Chloe Williams company. Good for her. She looked like she could really use some. Not that Hani didn’t, but that was a whole other ball game. A quick of raspberry vodka and she was set. It was only a matter of time. The family didn’t like this settings, nor did they want her being a part of it, not that this ever halted her search for adventure, but eventually they found out, threw out a couple of profanities and sent her back to the estate. At least for right now, she could enjoy the chaos of the atmosphere around, and boy was it chaotic. There was something rotten in the air, a sense of tension, distress, anger, perhaps all of those combined. One thing was for certain, something was about to unfold. And unfold it did. The yelling, the snarls, hissing, shattering of glass and everything in between was enough to send any rich girl running for the hills, but some things were more important than saving your own life. Seconds away from fists being flung and no one seemed to be able to handle the situation. Tables smashed, insults thrown like daggers and guns poised, ready to fire. The petite twenty-two year old acted on pure instinct. WHat would she do? What could she do? That didn’t matter now. Whatever it took to stop this, to prevent anyone from getting hurt. She hardly managed to make it through the hostile crowd, bumping a few shoulders here and there, not bothering to mutter her usual apologies.

”Bel!” her voice was soft, but with just enough bite. Why she was even trying was beyond her. Not a single soul had been able to settle the brawl, how did she expect to. That’s an issue she didn’t think of once until it was but too late. She had to get out. He had to get out. Or they would both end up with the permanent mark of bullet holes. In a momentary lapse of common sense, Hani’s arm wrapped around the enraged man’s tats, quickly pulling him out. Away. As far away as physically possible. Hani knew he hadn’t resisted. Had it been the case they would still be planted in the same spot, as if nailed to the ground. Why hadn’t he resisted? Not that this mattered now. ”It’s not worth, it’s not-” out of breath and resolve, but she got her point across.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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There was a reason Brooklyn was so unholy. God had backpedaled after just a few plagues and hopelessly pined reconciliation through the failures of baptism. He himself had cold feet when it came to cradling the heads of Andres and Gotti, with more design met in drowning them than breathing new life into their already so fatally fucked up marrow. It came do a point where only death could offer the salvation required to save their souls. And even that doctrine was paved with spattered renditions. There was not a hand they’d shake without insidious intent, God would be no exception. To be swindled by mortals in and of itself was a sin. Before you start a war, know what you’re fighting for. War or not, any providence would end in flames like they were kerosene soaked beside a lighter carved by the initials ‘B&Z’. God did not want this one. Andres took an axe to church, Gotti to state. And people wondered why they were filthy rich as if the drift was hard to catch. They snubbed out the smallest spoors of opposition and wrote it off as a business expense.

What an empire. Divided as it were, it stood no less lucrative. Sons soon to be kings. The same way their fathers planned, only cleft. Daughters, sisters and mothers were just gardens lining the gates. Distractions. Manipulations meant to dissuade from a terminal path. Flowers were prone to get trampled in here, just a happenstance of flores en este jardín. In this kingdom of cranked up and cracked out chronicles. Patriarch was a motherfucker.

But eyesome. One person couldn’t imagine the number of times the families had been stopped when all together, days back by Maui's waves. All those dusky-tressed babies scattered over the shoreline, some with effulgent fixed looks, Gunner’s obsidian beneath furrowed slants, Dominic with his sparkling blue. Simon fair like a diamond cut above the rest. “You are such a beautiful family. Really lucked out.” Cesspool symmetry, genes never hitting the skids. The prettiest people do the ugliest things. All alone as always was curiosity wrapped in blond hair, impulse pitcher than the eyes of what would be her lover, the golden maverick who never looked the part of a Bates or a Zaire. Bound to serve a platter of palpitations in her future and embody temptation.

Temptation. A pendulum drop in a room full of bass everywhere he went. First it was her. And really, always her. A hung up eidolon with honey framing her face, the inevitable type of trespass Bel would die to get his hands all over. I’m a sucker for the way you slip between my fingers and gather at my feet. She strayed like it was her job, and came back around with fire in her chest as though somebody had choke-chained her to a fence. It was hard to leave her. One pygmy glance and you knew the girl was knee deep in batshit crazy, but God and the devil both knew one would never leave her. Owed to the fact that she could touch you once and intoxicate your faculties, haunt you in camera-eyes, missed zeal at the borderline of your bed. Stain you a thousand shades darker than the skeletons in your closet but feel so damn good doing it. And you’d miss her when she was gone. Or, apologize for never calling.

Swing focus. The art of multitasking came difficult with so much noise moving through the room at a gait that could lose anyone. Good thing for Chloe, anchoring him quick with a reply much appreciated. A tough proposition which readily riled his interest. ‘Cause that boy sure loved a challenge, but Baby came in hot apace with them, like a bartender telling you when you’ve had enough.

C o c k b l o c k e d.

Image"Long strolls down Long Island would have placed you somewhere worse than my front door," he joked in reply to Chloe, "But you know what they say. Life is a beach, after all." Arsenic - not dormant, but patiently waiting, was stocked against the back of her canines just biding time. Senna was cagey in every aspect of his front. Like he didn’t know the sleeping wolves he tantalized with red meat. “Quit it, Sen,” he divulged sidelong to her tawny glare, “Usted me subestima.” This statement, put in the hole by his deceiving grin, quieted her for the time being. “She’s always trying to rob me blind when it comes to women,” the joke wasn’t empty, “Especially in casual situations. Lil’ mama has more grace in this setting than me, but you could already tell that.” Jasper too, could attest. Having been a recipient of one too many second chances. Senna was smooth, gliding on the finesse of her natural social ease. Who forgave someone for spilling Scotch on a vintage piece they loved more than life itself? Senna.

His spirit of inquiry got lost down the way again, which his little sister also slapped a chastity belt around using the unyielding force of a mini fascist [that only she could execute so fucking resourcefully with teacup fists]. “You’re a party kind of girl h----”, hot air piped out of him, harvest of Senna’s indication nearly spilling whipped cream down his jacket, “uh-g.” The crosshairs of her survey lingered where his once did. Past the oceanic hair of a waitress he'd previously tipped, now rubbing elbows with rival beasts and looking far less overwhelmed by work in her position. A corner of the boxing ring where only Bates’ resided, half upkept by the threads of vogue taste, half by the rugged constrait of prerogative and loss of sleep. Nice, man, I see you graduated from Cocaine High.

There wasn’t time left in a jar to avoid the inevitable. That lid had blown way off, blasted a hole through the ceiling and hid somewhere in the sub stratosphere. A scary amount of dead air swallowed The Little Lady. Its occupants only creaked to turn their attention towards a standoff where one dude held a blowjob and the other a tab. Shot in the dark or light - it didn’t matter. Gunner had just plodded his way straight into No Man’s Land, dragging his epicene baby brother along for the ride. And Bel's old boy might have been tumid bank to bank with muscle, but Bel hadn’t spent the past ten years deflated eating twinkles, either.

The clock in for slaughter had him a couple pounds short of a hundred and eighty, cattle-fed and carved up. Two soft hands fought to encircle his convex bicep which could split denim at any minute. Senna whirred weakly in the backdrop of it all, trying to desperately clutch the wheel after realizing what she’d just taken out of mothballs. He blinked briefly, catching a vision of the white petals against her almost ebony mane before she referred to his sworn enemy as his best friend.

This set off a causal nexus that completely wiped rationality off the map. Whatever happened next, whatever he said, he wasn’t sure. It ruptured in a medley of mother tongue and years worth of acrimony. To even tickle the death of their father with mischief or a maneuver was a foul move on Senna’s part, but rarely did she do things so leaden without purpose. His palm twitched, sudden consciousness of the glass iotas sunk into it. A beam fused across his expression, a shake of the head. “Pendejo. I hope you got some sleep between banging dope and now,” he slogged north, “I want this to be a fair fuckin’ fight.”

Unlike that shit your father pulled.

Image When the owner's staff came down on the apex of his spine, a zap of surface pain rippled across his epidermis. All that was rendered from it was a jaw click and flash stop. Less than a twinge. The velocity in which his veins were working had him feeling every tingle of adrenaline and none of consequence. The metallic chime of a Beretta behind a belt buckle interrupted awe-found silence, safety clip not a luxury known in this state of tension. Bel cocked back, bore all his weight in feet that were planted at shoulder width, but did not turn. Barrel-faced, the bearded old head didn't so much as flinch. Neither did Bel. His eyes sidled toward the man sporting a limp, robustly clenching a cane like a new age Merlin [far less gray, hatless, certainly quicker moving] extracting his revenge. Did I just get punked by The Lord of the Rings? This dude topped him by an inch or two, but that was minor league. Bel crawled home from worse scraps with bigger foe. Nothing for nothing, he could handle himself well for a lone son without a jeering pack of hyena brothers to back his shit up.

What was at hand - for once - spoke no threat on the Bates' behalf. It was a colony of Little Lady supporters, burners ready. Bel's finger tensed on the trigger. "Everybody's got a crew," his Adam's apple bobbed against a tattoo, soft chuckle caught in between, "Everybody." He refocused on the iron gaze given by Gunner and didn't blink, "You have to when your friends wouldn't hesitate to kill your family. That's what you gotta' do here, huh señor? Protect your family."

He was so thick in the throat, talkin’ from the scarcely touched place, that he hardly felt her fluid collision. How she pinned herself between a splintered table, a dozen firearms and him. She swathed him, tiny but mighty, pale against the saddled surface screened by needlework and a heavy sleeve. Murmured into his chest before yanking him with all the force in her body. One hand moved to instinctively support her head. Hold it to him while the opposite forced shards into his skin by the ligature of a steady aim. Plasma trickled down the grip of the gun, he whispered something to her. That she didn’t need to help him or try to fix things, that she shouldn’t be here.

But neither should I.

Firearm sinking like a slowly capsized ship, he glanced into green disdain held by someone with more backup, "I got you. I was just protecting mine." The owner didn’t move from his post, though a pair of childish eyes peered out from a hiding space. “Yeah, I wouldn’t want that for anyone’s baby.” It was hardly audible. His stare settled on Gunner. Senna shrank in wake of the words, wrapping one arm decorated in black skin abstraction around herself. She shifted to raise a long retired boxing glove, "Bel, I just wanted to leave. Ahora.... Ahora you need to go." She looked so frail that way, almond eyes gazing up, pastel color enveloping her in a momentary purity that reminded him of the day she was born. And that's why before she even thought to say, "Jump." he would jump. Why he put himself in these situations. Even if he bucked and looked like a total jackass. 'Cause there was, in reality, so little left of what he loved. A martyr or class act - he'd take any title to keep her safe.

“What the fuck are you looking at?” He growled to the opposing side, consequently being dragged away from it by an elfin thing with rounded features fit for a seraph. “Bel!” Hani snapped, pygmy paws all over him. He let her pilot, but blustered at Dominic and Gunner, “Don’t you fucking look at her.” Senna uneasily breathed, watching him go, knowing it was her he spoke of, not Hani.

Could practically hear her relief as he was pulled through the door by Hani, almost feel the words gushing from her mouth in ample apologies for what her brother had done yet again. One last glance showed her fumbling for her purse with pink brushstrokes across her embarrassed face. Contrite, handing over all her cash, checkbook at the ready, “I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry. Por favor. Por - please, let me. I cannot apologize enough - I will reimburse you for whatever, I... He - he’s just...” Same shit, different place.

All for you, bebita, your safety, your honor. The flowers in your hair that nobody ought to touch.

ImageBut how safe had he really kept her at all? What amount of preservation had he provided that kept her out of the mess that was ten years worth of hostility and cartel competition? All he allowed her to do was dip her little nose in man-made snow, changing her from the voice of reason to a semi-sage addict who cleaned up after him. And even in this, was it just him, underestimating her all of this time?

“It’s not worth it, it’s...” She was breathless. Back to earth. They were alone. The moon sloped overhead, held by invisible strings and drawing out the sweat on Hani's brow from saving the day. “Yeah, hey,” he sniffed hard, tucking away the cold steel and wiping his hands, “I know. I should have known better. Why’d you come up in there like that, huh?” For a minute he could feel she wouldn’t look at him. The same way Senna might refuse to now. Fingers to muzzle, noninvasive, a millisecond linger, he touched her succinctly, “You coulda’ got seriously hurt, Hani.” By some shadows a drunken man stumbled to settle his kickstand into gravel as Bel zeroed in on his mistakes. “You mad at me?” He let distance fall between them, voice quieting in the dark, "I'm sorry for all of this. Really."

Funny, how the lever was weighed in the ‘off’ position by the incantations of something so untainted. The sterility outside of him that he tiptoed toward. Like he was afraid to say too much. Do too much. She’d walked in at the worst time, parts he would have rather she never converged with. Because she was too good.

And he was not.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Nikolai Malkov
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▲▼▲▼ JUNKO takayama ▼▲▼▲


A single cobalt ray made way through the thin crack between heavy curtains, a flickering beacon of light in the night of the room. It followed a path over haphazardly removed boots, and a stretched out scarf, up to the sleeve of a woolen coat lying messily on the sheets, and it curved over the shape of a motionless body underneath the covers. The young yakuza woman lay still on her back, black eyes half-lidded and staring up at the peeling ceiling. Dark purple streaked her eyes having forgotten to wipe the coverage up hours before. She needed not to crane her head to the lucky cat clock hanging by her door. She always woke up at the same time. It was just a matter of when she got out.

She wishes she could stay. Junko would never say that aloud, nor acknowledge it personally, but the morning was quiet. It was predictable. Because there was nothing to predict. Nothing except that in about five minutes she would hear footsteps pace outside her door, which usually belong to her little Akecchi, headed to freshen up for school. The low rumbles of the water pipes would course through the wooden floors of their aging rowhouse. And she would probably spend too much time on her face to realize that she would be running late. This short 30 minute period on weekday mornings was probably the closest to the “ordinary” life Junko had always fantasized of. A sudden pang of the previous day’s events knocked on Junko’s thoughts and then threw her back into the real world.

Momentary vertigo accompanied Junko’s movements as she sat up in her bed, her eyes still glazed over with a film of contemplation and exhaustion. She sat hunched over, somewhat uncomfortable having remained in her clothes from last night as opposed to her nightwear. She clamped a cold hand to her forehead and pushed her hair back, remembering the brief moment of escape with Hani in that sultry café. She stood and walked over the scattered objects on her dusty floor to her own bathroom. Slovenly, she tossed her garments across the tiles and beared the shower’s ice cold water on her tepid body. A quick dry-off with a towel and a makeup remover rag later, she stood naked in front of her mirror, feeling the closest to pure a hitwoman could feel. In a stride she put on a dark blue crewneck and black tight jeans. Topping her armor was a fresh new mask-- nothing out of the ordinary that day. Just the run-of-the-mill black wing and nude lipstick, and generally liked what she saw. Before leaving her room, she picked up her purse and her .380 lying in her wardrobe.

As expected, the twenty-three-year-old finished her morning routine before her younger sister. High schoolers care too much, she supposed. Walking toward the stairs, she passed by her younger brother’s room-- his door left ajar and the young bozo in question snoring naked on his floor. Of course. She quickened her stride and sure enough, downstairs her brother’s latest victim was at the door, putting on her shoes for her escape. The girl was just a kid, probably even younger than Akecchi. She turned wide-eyed at the sheer coolness of the big sister, her movements hastening to get the hell out. Poor thing, probably had some traumatizing fight with her daddy or something. That’s how Seiji picked up most of his girls. Junko would’ve taught him otherwise, ‘cept it’s kinda just how the way things are with the men in her family. All of them.

Junko stood silently, her presence as foreboding as her look. As if she had a band of men at her side. She looked down in contempt, watching the girl struggle with her excuses. “I’m Seiji’s friend,” he let me stay,” I’ve nowhere else to go.” Her face remained unchanging, her eyes black daggers. The girl’s excuses turned into insults, most likely just a plan B defense. Not that Junko cared. Scaring the kid off might save her from falling into their lifestyle. She didn’t seem cut out for it, and this was the woman’s way of showing mercy.

Incoherent babbles were all that left the now sobbing kid when Junko decided to finally pull the plug. ”Get the fuck out of my house.” Poor thing. She yelped before making her escape, her shirt still unbuttoned and hanging loosely from her purple and blue chest. Junko oughta strangle her brother for playing rough with children, but she’s got work to do. A job, really. She greeted her mother’s shrine, small and simple on the countertop, then left for the casino.

ImageThe Aneesan leaned tiredly over the bar, watching her lackeys go about in the dayless room. Business was slow on weekdays, and her father was out doing the big jobs. No one rang her up for a job yet, and her little brothers took care of the other stuff. The chores. Collecting money, controlling family businesses, beating up wise guys who thought it smart to pick fights with them. Being second-in-command was pretty boring. Junko appreciated the quiet, but damn, a nice intelligent chat with someone would make the hours pass that much quicker. She thought about Hani, the only good thing that’s happened to her outside of her own gang. The boys seemed well-behaved enough. And it wasn’t like they were gonna do anything stupid, either. Those who hang around the headquarters know better. Even the kids. She pulled out her phone to make a call, but stopped upon seeing the alerts.

The sullen lieutenant wasn't anti-social or anything. It was more like she didn’t have a natural penchant for parties. Okay, no, wrong-- she’s the goddamn outcast of outcasts. Her job requires her to show up only to smooth shit over if any of her little brothers got out of line. And even with the bigger missions, they’re usually ran solo. Not to mention the extent of her connections were mostly acquaintanceships or brief clientele. So much surprise was met with her appearance at The Little Lady. The place wasn’t nearly like her usual drinking spots, but if anything, it was refreshing. Then of course came the recognition of certain faces.

Shackles raised higher than they naturally had. Smoothly, she walked over to the bar, but changed her mind about the drink, feeling the need to distance herself from big boy Zaire, more for the sake of having nothing to say to him than an actual precaution, though that's important to not as well. A young scamp made his way, making Junko press onto the lady behind her. Slightly chuffed, she was granted the satisfaction of seeing the boy blunder-- on the baby Zaire nonetheless. She made her way to a table in the corner, facing away from the crowd. Alone, she wonders what was she even thinking? This wasn’t where she belonged. Her portrait is that in front of a band of extortionists and fallen bodies. Business. This place wasn’t her business. There were, god forbid, children in the area. Even amidst the most prolific individuals of the underworld, she didn’t belong there.

Juno’s internal soliloquy was interrupted with the sound of broken glass, and a slew of profanities. She looked vacantly across the empty seat, tensing under the air. Of course a room with both the Bates and the Zaires would ultimately end up this way. Hand clutched over her revolver, she stayed hidden, listening to the exchange. She would only involve herself if necessary-- is what she told herself until she heard a familiar chime of a voice. The Japanese woman turned her head abruptly to the scene, eyes magnetized to her relatively delicate companion clinging onto the arm of the hunk of dynamite. She looked so small next to him.

The yakuza woman stood slowly from her seat, making brief eye contact with the eldest of her allies before returning her specs to the woman she had no control over. Only hope. When they left the scene, leaving a mess of overturn tables and broken glass, Junko’s eyes stayed glued to the exit. Whatever was eating at Bel was beyond Junko’s concern-- it’s the one who’s tagged along she’s worried about. What a party. For now, she couldn’t think of how else to approach the situation besides glancing toward the Bates. Her eyes read only one thing, as did many others. What’s their next move?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson Character Portrait: Prudence Wright Character Portrait: Nikolai Malkov
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For the first time since he'd wandered into the Little Lady, Gunner chuckled when Simon regarded the whip-cream monstrosity Jubes ordered, lips twitching up into a little smile. It might've been the drubbing pangs pulsing against his temples, or the lack of sleep tickling at his humor, but he shrugged his shoulders and tipped an eyebrow up, eying the bearded bartender over his shoulder, “God knows why you sell these things, Jona.” Sugary nonsense, metaphoric implications aside. It represented nothing to him, though someone else might've seen it as claws extended and hackles raised. Snubs read between catty lines, reserved for barbed words, and glowering glares. It wasn't his way of doing things, so he thought nothing of it. Instead, Gunner turned his attention towards the approaching blue-haired lass he'd often seen working here, of all places, though he knew her from the days she dated Simon. Sienna. Nice girl. One of the few friends he actually approved him of having. He offered her a curt nod, and a smile, before his gaze drifted back towards the sea of people, swimming against transparent currents: all too dangerous and surrounded by lurking bears, waiting to snatch them out of the water.

A soft sigh sifted from his lips, as he set down the second shot of whiskey and turned his attentions back towards the only one that snared his attention—decked in white lace, dainty movements, and a goodness that trailed through the black tar of the present individuals like sunlight invading dark spaces. After handing a bill to the small, bundle of grinning little girl, he watched as Senna plopped herself beside Bel and Chloe, leaning into whatever conversation he was intent on, smarmy smirk oozing carnal innuendos, most likely making sly invitations to his sheets, in his arms, as he always did. He recognized the look, anyhow. Seen him work his magic and try to coach him into the same slimy conventions, even though he preferred cold sheets than meaningless romps and awkward mornings, chased by ensuing departure attempts. It was too much, and as brazen and caustic as his temper was, he'd prefer a constant companion rather than infrequent lip-bites, thigh kisses, and crippling thoughts wondering if they were the only ones involved.


Between hearing the hiss and crackle of glass crunching betwixt a hand and a frigid growl, all too familiar to his ears, Gunner stepped away from the counter and tensed his shoulders, his own hands curling into bruised fists, still ripped and scarred and scabbed over from his last fight. This was a train wreck in the making and they were both hurtling in front of it, heedless of the lights and the rumbling tracks, and maybe just a little antsy to slam themselves against it. A sordid tornado designed to tear apart everything in its path, raging against buildings, people, tables and ten-year grievances that wept like open sores, packed with salt. The drumming in his ears threatened to block them out. Everything besides the stalking individual that had once been his best friend, licking his chops for a scuffle. For a beginning and an end, he wasn't sure. He wasn't sure if he cared. In a matter of seconds, Senna billowing out a protective circle around her much larger brother, small cry above the silence, an ineffectual stopping sign.

Bel rounded on his like a hound waiting to rip out someone's throat and here he was, stepping up to the plate, baring it like a dare, murky eyes staring bullets, staring daggers, promising that this fiasco would end if that was what he wanted. Gunner's blood sang in his veins and pumped a muscle against his jawline, bouncing whenever he mashed his molars together. His breath heaved out in a hiss, and his hands splayed open, sweeping out in a wide arc that might've said go ahead and fucking do it. If he was anything at this point, he was fucking tired of Bel's accusations, weary of his perpetual venom. They fluctuated between two constants: a raging tempest eating up the shoreline, gnawing at the earth until their island became smaller and smaller, and a history that spanned the ages, one that was difficult to ignore. There were buttons there that only they knew how to press, and they did, infrequently, when the silence between them bubbled over the edge, and stained the ground they stood on. It wasn't poetic. It was a fucking shit-show. And he wasn't even sure how it'd happened, only that a bull was pawing at the ground, and his patience was waning thinner.

It was Dominic who stayed his twitching hands, cutting through the tension with two distinct words: stand down. As if someone had pulled a leash tight against a slavering hound who was ready for blood, Gunner exhaled sharply and licked his lips, stepping out of Bel's line of fire. At least, out of range. So focused on the destructive force in front of him, he hadn't noticed Jona slipping in from behind the counter, landing a crackling blow with his cane, straight across Bel's back. Jolting him back to reality, maybe. He doubted it.

It hadn't occurred to him that he should reach for the glock nestled at his spine, curved into his jeans, even as Bel's hand drifted from behind him, brandishing his own piece, waving it in front of the bearded bartender's nose, unflinchingly. As soon as it swayed in his direction, Gunner's heart lurched and the same restrictive fury threatened to bubble from his parched throat, and culminate into a fist, “You are so fucked, Bel. C'mon pull the trigger.” Because Bel didn't know what the fuck he was talking about and as much as he wanted to correct him... his words jumbled against his tongue, stacking like fallen cards and if he wanted to capsize all the dominoes, he'd have to wait.

And as if nothing stranger could happen in this place, at this time, Hani drifted in like a pixie, flapping her small hands against Bel's elbow and whispering as softly as a mouse that he needed to get out of there. A dainty, delicate spirit whisking in to save the day, as she usually did. He hadn't seen her in awhile. Not since their impromptu break up, contrived by her stern-faced family. He was too much. Too dirty. An ugly compromise of violence and gnashed teeth. Comprised of too many things that did not settle in their palms, and if he was something that couldn't be controlled, he wasn't made for their tiny, virtuous daughter. Strangely enough, Bel complied. Gunner ignored the flare of mossy resentment as they bustled out of the establishment and smoothed his trembling fingers across the front of his pants, though he couldn't exactly pinpoint why he was shaking. His gaze flicked over to Dominic and met his, he nodded and slumped back against the bar, mouth set into a firm line, mulling over Bel's words, grinding them into chewable morsels. Jasper, Chloe, and most others who were looking like deer in the headlights. Suppose he couldn't blame them.

Don't you fucking look at her.

Gunner wasn't an idiot. He knew exactly who he was talking about even as he slunk out the door, led by the cupid-faced fairy. From the growing din of murmurs, and individuals sitting back in their seats, he could hear Senna blubbering out apologies, trying her best to smooth any ruffled feathers. He rolled his gaze towards the ceiling and closed his eyes for a few seconds, attempting to smoother down the growling pull to use anything and everything that could drown out Bel's words, to smother a pillow over the stagnant energy sizzling acidic spirals in his belly: unspent energy threatening to spill over. It was Junko he looked to next, leveling a mildly apologetic stare, though he knew he had little to apologize for. Never a dull moment with the Bates and Zaires circulating in the same room. He wasn't sure what to say to her, though he might've suggested following Hani out. Wasn't sure why, either. Smoothing a hand through his hair, Gunner maneuvered himself away from Jubes, and Simon, and perched himself beside Senna. A few feet away, close enough that he'd be noticed and far enough to... he didn't know, seem less threatening?

“What the hell was that?” His voice was a low hum. Barely audible, a whisper. Enough that she'd need to lean in to hear what he was saying. So that she'd need to pay attention. He didn't like seeing her like this. Fixing Bel's mistakes, flustered and embarrassed and stricken with a need to set everything back on the right path. A rankled hand stopped her movements, pressed her purse down as his free hand fished his wallet from his back pocket. He didn't look at her right away, though he did retract his fingers from hers, and he turned to regard Jona, “I'll pay for the damages, Jona. Everything's fine. No more trouble.” She wouldn't like him handling her business, so he wouldn't act like that was what he was doing. Business was business, and as much as it was his to knock people down a few pegs, Dominic didn't like burning bridges when they could be mended.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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#, as written by Ivisbo

Simon always had a certain knack for sensing a problem before it arose, one of the reason's Jubes little note caught his eye. He watched the bartender pass to down the line of drinking patrons, but quickly lost attention as Jona planted his drink in front of him in record time. The Little Lady was beginning to fill- the usual ambiguous noises of a bar created a dull buzz that Simon actually found comforting. He liked being so surrounded by people that you had to lean close to anyone you really wanted to talk to. It was intimate and made you feel much more alive to be in a crowd- being alone always made him revert inside his own head and think way too fucking much. Alcohol and weed helped him with that, but going out and forcing himself to not think was the real cure to any sort of anxiety inducing mind paths.

“Already got you covered kid. By the way, you look like hell.”

Green eyes narrowed and flicked up to furrowed brown, a glare evident on the young Bates's face, "I feel like hell" He grumbled, eyeing Jona over the rim of his glass before taking a sip of the spicy liquid, both parts irritated and amused. The bartender always had a certain ability to see through Simon's flamboyant mask- one of the reason's the bearded male interested him so much. He felt a certain amount of gratitude towards Jona for always being able to see Simon for more then just the silly gay baby Bates- though it scared the hell out of him as well. Simon released a sigh, about to reveal his shit hole of a night when Jona's gaze moved behind him and he drifted away.

Sienna slinked up to his side and distracted him from his thoughts- honestly Simon was grateful that he had an excuse to move out of Jona's scrutinizing gaze. Smile firmly back in place, he turned to his small blue haired friend as she smirked up at him, "You do know where you are right? A bit over dressed I'd say, but you look stunning Sime."

"Its always better to be overdressed then under. You know me" Simon leaned back on the bar, taking a sip of his drink while he unbuttoned the stiff wool suit jacket. He knew he looked good in the outfit, but he was starting to think that three-piece may have been a little much- it was hot in the bar and the wool didn't breath at all. "Are you staying around after your shift tonight? I thought maybe-"

Rustling of bodies and voices raised caught Simons attention immediately, cutting him short as he turned towards the Zaires down the bar with an irritated expression. It was a fucking party with family- Simon thought he caught Jona's daughter sneaking around behind the counter in his peripheral. Bel was throwing a fit over something, he couldn't hear him over the noise but he was sure it involved the impeccably dressed dark haired vixen next to him. Glass broke, voices rose, and Simon felt the tension shift in the entire bar. Gunner's posture change immediately- he could practically feel his older brother's anger bubbling. Simon had never been on the receiving end of Gunners hostility, but he knew that he could be fucking terrifying if he wanted to be. Bel had turned towards them at this point, his face a mixture of hatred and unfiltered disgust...

Fucking hell. It was a party, although he knew by now anywhere that both the Zaires and Bates showed up usually ended in some sort of shit show. Simon was honestly sick of it- the nights he chose to be by himself ended so much more comfortably then when he was with his family. The thought of leaving a starting something then with all this has crossed his mind... but he would never actually shake them- that would be like trying to shake his own arm off.

He was moving before Dominic gruff orders reached his ears, pushed himself away from the counter and moved in front of Sienna while knocking back the rest of his drink. If he could have chosen how the night should have gone, he would finish his drink slowly, eye-fuck the gruff bartender some more, teased Gunner for the hell of it, get Sienna to dance with him, and maybe end the night by taking a certain drugged out heroine addict home....

But instead he had to stand next to his overly-violent coke head of a brother while Bel Zaire headed towards them looking like an angry rooster in a cock fight. Rather then have the two uncontrollable ex-friends beat each other in front of a full bar over god knows what, Simon prepared to step between them and fulfill his mediator role in the family. Although he wasn't one hundred percent sure that Bel wouldn't just deck him and move on.

He didn't noticed Jona move from behind the bar till the bartenders cane came down on Bel's shoulder. Simon smirked a little- even with that limp Jona was still intimidating. He was much more controlled then Gunner, less antagonistic then Bel- more like a thunder storm that you should just leave the hell alone. Although Simon really didn't want this to come down to fists, maybe he wouldn't mind seeing a little of Jona's rough side (rougher then his normal prickly nature, that is).

Somehow the situation was saved by a sweet little mouse of a girl appearing at Bel's side, speaking to him in a soft voice and taming that temper. Simon was impressed- usually took some sort of physical force to get Gunner to calm the fuck down. But then, Simon didn't have tits to help him out . He watched the tension simmer as Bel was pulled away, the crowd parting to let them through to the entrance. Gunner's hulking mass backed down and he grumbled off to another empty spot on the bar, which allowed Simon to relax his shoulders and whistle out an exaggerated sigh.

"Well shit" Simon remarked, mostly to himself as he loosened his shoulders and leaned his back against the counter again. He looked back at Dominic, locking eyes and raised his brows in question, waiting for some sort of signal that this was all well and good before he returned his attention to Sienna, "A regular night at The Little Lady, am I right?"

Simon's let his eyes casually roam the crowd, passing over the people he didn't know while he searched for his most recent interest. Jasper was sitting by himself, looking his usual shit self that somehow attracted Simon even more. Maybe blame it on his fucked up family and how he was raised, but he had a weird thing for the damaged goods. Jasper fucked with his head so much but Simon enjoyed the mess the other man was- he forgot about his own insecurities when they spent spent he night fucked up together. He let his gaze openly pass over Jasper before making eye contact and smirking devilishly. Maybe the night was salvageable after all?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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There was a sort of melody to the way each individual reacted to the scene at hand. Backs drawn straight, shoulders squared up, eyes sharp and watchful; hands lingering either on the cold, deadly steel resting inside their coats, or ready to grab anything else in a second of fight or fight…because there would be no flight in this company. One could take this moment, attach classical music to it, and call it art for those more fortunate to gaze longingly at.

Reactions were quick, swift here and taunt there, a group of those waiting for orders, and a handful of those ready to take action. It was no surprise to Dominic when Jona moved first. Limp or no, a man protecting what he owned was no less threatening than a lion protecting it’s young. The strike that landed across Z’s back wasn’t a winning blow, but instead a warning; one Dom hoped Bel would take in stride. Gunner obviously waiting for a reason, waiting for Dominic to let go of his leash so he could just pounce. Each detail swirled around him while his jaw clenched, teeth ground together.

After the initial violence of first responders, there was a silence through The Little Lady as Kingpin and Chef faced one another, separated only by the dark threat resting in Bel’s outstretched hand. The words from the oldest Zaire’s lips rang through Dom’s head, wrapping around his mind in a vice grip that refused to let go and promised to seep poison all the way down to his heart. Protect your family; said in so many different tongues he wasn’t sure if he even knew who was who anymore. It wasn’t the first time he would hear it, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. The sacred law. The one rule. Necessary, regardless of the evils of the trade. Necessary.

Small, pale, fragile…placing herself in the middle of a fire just waiting for a chance. Brave, or ignorant, depending on where one stood. Willing to be burned by the wildfire that would strike eventually, because Cristobel Zaire was a match that would never be put out. Not by her or any other. Not by those who grew in the dark, or by those who could see the shards of broken light.
Surprising control, eased tension, slowly lowered violent promises. Dominic met Gunner’s gaze first, giving a slow nod before his brother slumped against the bar, still vibrating with tension. Next, Simon’s, eyebrows raised, a question that didn’t have to be asked. Dominic gave another nod, assuring. Senna’s voice, catching his attention, adding her belief that Bel needed to leave, get out, go. A goddess in the sea of a world unholy, baby’s-breath decorating her hair even after all the years, shining too brightly not to be in the nights sky…

“Don’t you fucking look at her” piecing through his heart shaper than any blade that had ever done the same to his skin. Dominic’s gaze never faltered, watched the shudder of small shoulders from the uneasy breath. Until Bel was gone, and distraction came in purr he knew all too well, behind a veil of lightly blown smoke.

Large brown eyes blinked up at him, lush pouty lips curving into a slow smirk as soft fingers glazed over his, dislodging the glass of whiskey he still had a firm grip on. He let it go, tension dropping from his shoulders with the knowledge that it was over.
She had always been good at distracting him from the messes laid at his feet. He’d much rather lose himself in her, fingers tangled through long brown hair, hands pressed to curves he knew all too well. His eyes slid over the tight material of her dress, caught on the deep dip of the neckline that left little to the imagination of the swell of her chest. Tongue swiping across his bottom lip before he placed his cigar between his teeth once more, accepting the press of a glass back into his palm.

He followed her attention across the room, watched with tightness in his muscles as Gunner drew up next to Senna. Gathering a comment on the back of his tongue, he was relieved slightly to see the man go for his wallet instead. Good man, Dominic thought with vague approval. Mend bridges, before they fall to pieces.

"Never mind, I think I can guess." As Dominic’s gaze continued to travel, her words left him with the reminder that he’d never been attracted to innocence. Dark hair, mischievous eyes, and mildly damaged. Didn’t matter the gender, hardly mattered the person; felt like home, felt like something he knew how to handle. Something he refused to think on more…Apt fingers switched smoke for the burn of alcohol, and Dom gave one affirming nod to the woman in front of him.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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#, as written by Caille
Sienna Henderson

"Its always better to be overdressed then under. You know me" Came from the man that Sienna has known for roughly eight years or more. The two were very well acquainted to the point where they used to spend countless hours over at the others’ house. It had grown to the point that she had met his family members and at least knew them by name and could throw a smile their way. Simon Bates was a striking young man. Broad in the shoulders and standing tall doing the suit justice. The suit really was the cherry on top of the cake. It was a shame he swung to the other side these days because the nicely groomed facial hair that laid on his face was a turn on. Luckily there was no feelings attached, she just felt a one night stand would be optimal, but Sienna could respect his life choices.

"Are you staying around after your shift tonight? I thought maybe-" It happened suddenly. The bearded stud that sat by the bar beside her had cut off his words. Things shifted in the bar and you could practically feel and see the atmosphere change in the restaurant. Things shifted and it almost seemed as Atlas had said fuck it and got someone else to carry on the weight of the world. Unfortunately that job couldn’t be done by anyone else and the world came crashing down.

Simon and his brothers had shifted immediately. The sound of chatter from other customers had quickly came to a complete stop. It was like an orchestrated piece that had hit a caesura in the music sheet. The gentleman before her had blocked about sixty percent of her view, so she wasn’t certain what exactly had been going on. Although she could see that people between the bar and the rest of the restaurant had been parted like the red sea and what stood at the end was someone hardly close to who you would call Moses exactly.

The shimmering glint of the metal had been reflected. The one who stood at the end of the parted sea of people held it up. Barrel pointed and aimed in the direction of the bar where all the Bates had been standing. The adrenaline had been pumping in Sienna’s veins as she stood behind Simon. She was watching the scene unfold, which would be like her many Christmas days. Someone would always be yelling and a burnt turkey was almost always thrown out the back door and eaten by the stray dogs in the neighborhood. It was a holiday that was never successful. Just like this scene unfolding was unsuccessful. She had no idea how things would end up. Would someone get shot? Honestly the fear of it all and the high stakes was a bit of a turn on. Then again Sienna was into the bad boys these days.

The peak of the action happened when Jona hobbled out with his cane and smacked down on the boy. Secretly Sienna wanted some kind of action to happen as bad as it were to sound. She did feel bad for the mess of everything that happened and the stuff Jona was going to have to do to fix up his Little Lady. Soon the one that wield the gun had left the premises and the Bates had relaxed some again.

"A regular night at The Little Lady, am I right?" The youngest Bates had asked her, and that returned a smirk onto Sienna’s face as she faced him. “Totally.” She responded shaking her head lightly and leaned up against the bar a bit and watched as the sea of people flooded back into the path that was no longer cleared up. “What were you going to ask before you were ever so rudely interrupted?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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"There ain't no way in fucking hell I'm letting you out without a scratch."

In a sense, Jona shouldn’t have been surprised that the snot nosed kid didn’t go down on his knees. He has, most likely, gone through the wringer under much worse circumstances but that did not phase the bartender. If anything, his body itched to connect fist to jaw with any applicable force it could throw at him. Green flickered down at the gun now held by the opposing force. He never liked guns. They were toys given to overgrown children who never knew how to use them correctly, and all these children had short tempers, much like the one that stood before the grisly man.

Staring down hard at the Zaire’s boy, Jona stood his ground. Fingers gripped tight on the cane. Ready at any moment to bring it down on the boys head if the situation called for it. Only a grunt came in reply to the first words Bel spoke. The older man silently agreed with that statement. Everyone had someone to back them up. Never forget it. A barrel of a chest rose softly and lowered quickly, breathing through his nostrils to calm him down. Guns had joined the game of intimidation. It would not be wise to let fury take hold and lash out its vengeance upon the world. Like a boulder that had no chance of being moved, the bearded bartender stood his ground. Never once looking away from the gun pointed at him. It only served to add more kindle to the blaze of spite that raged in those green pools. They bubbled and sparked with the ferocity of bear whose home at had been disturbed.

Papa bear, as the little one so loveling referred to him, did not care to see his Little Lady damaged any further. The boy needed to leave as he has come to learn that none of the big families can ever be in the same place at the same time. Doing so was just beckoning hell to opens its gates, and let loose all its inner demons into the tense fray, yet somehow an angel appeared in turmoil inspired by a hatred seeded some time ago. Corners of a thin mouth dipped down into a frown of something akin to disapprobation. Such a little thing shouldn’t throw herself into the still and silent fight. A fight that seemed to occur in mind and with high emotions. The little thing pulled at him but the boy chose to speak just a little bit more. He remained silent as he delivered his last words and his sister added her two cents. The older man couldn’t imagine all the times she must have stepped in to provide those little words. She could be rich for every time she did he was guessed.

Jonathan wasn’t sure if the Zaire’s kid left because he wanted to, if the angel convinced him with her light touch or his sister's words pushed him away. All he knew was that he was glad he was no longer under his roof. Broad shoulders relaxed now that the source of tension had relieved themselves of his presence. He glared chillingly down at all the Little Lady's patrons. His eyes lingered on the boys who carried the Bates name on their backs. They were trouble makers just like the Zaires kid but since they did not join in on the brewing pot of violence, they were currently lower in his list of people he disliked.

Returning to the back of the bar, Jona squatted in front of his beloved daughter. With a grim face, you'd think that she would be scared. Surprisingly, those noodle thin arms found themselves hanging loosely about his neck. A show of affection that the bartender gladly returned. His hand dwarfed the little ones own hand as he stood up and pushed her towards her mother, who now approached the bar. Her hand reached over to grip his muscled shoulder, thumb moving in rhythmic motions reminiscent of a circle. The other Zaire popped up, blabbing about paying for the costs. She pushed loads of cash and pulled out her checkbook at the ready. At the sight of this, he frowned and Anna took charge.

Almost on cue, the Bates boy, Gunner, saddled up next to her and pulled out his own treasure chest of cash. This only made the bartender they were trying to appease frown even more. "I don't want your fucking money you spoiled brats." His hands, having previously been perched at the edge of the bar, pulled back and he took an old rag and began to wipe down the surface. He was careful to pick at the shot glasses shattered remains, no thanks to Bel's furious grip. Anna frowned as well, not appreciating her husbands harsh words to the two. Turning to face them, with Meg perched on her hip a bit uncomfortably it seemed, a smile flashed across her dark features. Her eyes flickered over to a newcomer but left it alone. She was a pretty thing but Anna did wasn't in the mood to socialize with anyone, unless it was a necessity.

"What my husband means to say is that now that . . . Well he means exactly as he says. Now isn't a good time to try and rebuild damaged bridges so I suggest coming back in the morning if you really mean on paying for the damage your brother caused Senna." Annalise's voice was soft like silk yet had a tint of huskiness in it. Her brown eyes shifted over to Gunner, not once losing that welcoming sparkle. "The same goes for you although since neither you nor your brothers damaged anything you're exempt from having to pay anything." The older women very much meant what she said, leaving no room for arguments.

Jona glanced at them under his furrowed brow. Wondering if they were honest in their intentions. Still wiping down the bar, Jona overheard Simon's comment and he snorted in protest. "Like hell I want this to be a regular thing." His tone still held a bit of an edge to it but as time went on, it faded. The same occurred with the rest of the restaurants current inhabitants. With the tension gone, it began to gradually buzz with activity. Employees began to clean up the mess Bel left for them, others subtlety urged the patrons to leave. It would seem all the commotion was bringing about an ache to the front of Jona's head. His grimace grew worse until finally he spoke up and told everyone to leave.

The loss of his cool easily prompted the regulars to exit, especially those who were not accustomed to his gruff ways. Little by little they began to trickle out of the Little Lady and the grimace on the bartenders face lessened. He welcomed the quiet atmosphere and slowly began to close shop, making sure any and all stragglers were kicked out. The majority of the employees were sent home as well, save for a couple. Eventually they too left and it was just the Moore family and whoever else that refused to leave.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Hani Kim Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Aedan Rory Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Junko Takayama
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"Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows

Do with their death bury their parents' strife."

Where would her bones go to rest if this was all that lie ahead? To sooner be found in a grave than a bed as a means of peace was morbid to contrive all together, but this was a habitual theorem. Where there was war there was masochism. Suicide wasn’t the ultimate form of self annihilation. Being dilatory in the madness was. Fucking flagrant. Avoiding all the exit signs, fingers twisted ‘twix those of the ones you loved the most, who pulled you away from fire escapes swearing that adjusting to the smoke was all you needed to do and the blaring alarm would eventually become just stark background noise.

At sixes and sevens one second, apologies the next. Childhoods composed in such luxury rarely did a bang up job of establishing p’s and q’s [properly at least], but Senna had it down pat. Suppose that’s what came of constantly walking the same tight rope only a few steps behind her brother. Always at the heels of a ticking time bomb and learning one thing from it: discipline. Reserve. The strength of apologies, resolve, recognized mistakes, and reconciliation.

The truth of it is, you gotta’ make your own decisions. Step up. ‘Cause if you don’t take a step, the world will take it for you. And that can get really God damn dangerous.

The amount of times Senna had been in this very same situation was unable to be juggled by hands or feet. She’d accepted a long time ago that she couldn’t harbor any real loathing for it, that this is just how Bel was and how he’d always be. If he wasn’t jumping the gun for a beautiful woman or greenback proprietary, he was either sleeping or in a fist fight. He’d been known to eat his heart out only among few. From the look of Gunner’s face, mussed with splenetic storm astern to her brother’s apparent rhetoric, he’d long forgotten that part of Bel, too. But Senna didn’t. And if Julia had half a heart or brain, she didn’t either. To be known true blue and bare was rare in this world at all. More with these two families. If Bel went six feet under any time soon, the chiselings of philanthropy and kindness might not be found on his headstone. But a monster? That’s something he wasn’t. He still had close-mouthed dreams, fire in the belly about eventually going somewhere better. Being better. The sad thing was his pride and comfortability in malice, in money. He stuck around this long to settle scores, perhaps with a swelled head. But somewhere buried deeper than the secrets behind their father, was heavy love. His chest just never much caved to show it. Guess it couldn’t, not when every side of the world he knew swung baseball bats and blasters in his direction.

However, no excuses were made for the arrogant rush of testosterone ruining somebody else’s day. Senna never even entertained the thought of pardoning it or following her brother out. Hani could handle this one. Everyone knew that girl was fuller than the temple for mercy and moderation, something few lineages in proximity had. And she could stop him. She did stop him. With feather-fine efficiency, swept him right out, hushed the gunshot bedlam coming out of him and coaxed him into the calmer night.

Digits went staggering for amends before Hani had gotten him to the doors. Senna propped her handbag open, shuffling through it, not realizing she’d began to express her regrets in Spanish novels. It wasn’t until eerie quietude took the atmosphere by storm that she paused to look up. She’d gone glassy with remorse and humiliation. The white of her eyes strained to stay chaste, and breakers eating the dust of ocular tensity made her blink like Bambi would at a shotgun. Mercurial nerve loss. A tick brought knuckles to her brow bone, then to a high cheek where an unalloyed beauty mark resided on the right side. She thought hard. Pursed lips sealed temporarily while her scrutiny fell back to ATM-fresh bills. “I would really like to square up in more than just money,” she whiffed in this bitty feline fashion, “I can’t apologize enough. I’ll help clean up and - whatever you need, I would like to compensate you for your... Your losses. My brother has zero sense of reproach and I am so, so sorry.” She’d said this all a hundred times. It brimmed fluently from her but she was no less genuine, sable lofty lashes trying to bat away the cerebral pain. A headache slithered from the notches of her mental, in due time accompanied by a far more physical presence. She’d been a bit meek to meet his survey. Thankfully he was hardly giving it.

Politic Gunner. Wise enough not to gnash his teeth too loudly and streetwise to the point of knowing safe distances at the drop of a hat. Or, almost-bar-fights and family-brewed, brazen ballistics. He’d spoken in such a noiseless tongue that it took her a minute to form the words. Anxiety stabbed itself into her neck as she reclined sideways on the bar for a minute to reply, currency in hand. Secondary to his admission, “Some bullshit,” slipped out of the side of her pout, “Please don’t be so austere, G. This was not your fault, por favor no lo hagas.” To be subliminal was not entirely out the window, so her movements were vague and gentle. Senna grazed his gesture for his wallet with an elbow, careful to only barely touch him. As expected he refused. Wasn’t much for letting her clean up after anyone but herself, something he expressed plainly on more than one occasion. But she could feel the tremble in his posture from being hot under the collar. From labored inhibition. Which in turn made her only want to jam his wallet back into his pocket, pay off Mr. Little Lady with her own money and see herself out. Maybe text Gunner ‘round the witching hour mark asking if she could come fix him some morphine tea and explain. She held all the tickets and manifested as the tax of disturbance dealt by Bel, and it made her tired. Worse. Sober.

Just let Gunner handle it kid.

But God damn. Wasn’t it her mess to handle? Sure was with Bel outside, no doubt in her mind trying to butter Hani up and mew ‘sorry’ tenfold while completely forgetting what a shit show he had put on. Regardless, Gunner meant no ill intent, didn’t want this on Senna’s plate. No one on his side did. Except for Julia, and lookit’ here, she got what she wanted. ‘Cause at the end Senna was taking the heat in all reality, like good old Jubesy knew she would. One fatal flaw put Julia’s game plan off though - Gunner’s integrity. It would only spark up more rage, but for now she’d receded somewhere. Probably to stalk out the situation with Bel and his nightly flavor, not like she was about to offer any explanation for the scene to her brothers.

Senna wasn’t surprised by the raging rejection that Jona fire-breathed. When his wife came in to intervene, Baby just nodded, avowing her appearance in the morning because really, what else could she do, now? She glanced at Gunner, shook her head and backed up.

Temperance made her teeter. Like chinaware on the bad tail of a richter scale. “If you wanted to get snowed in together later,” she sidelined, “I think I might know what happened.” She simpered, gracious, knowing only he heard the flat invitation with her back to him. If he took her up on it there was a 90% chance they wouldn't even discuss the chain of events. They knew each other well enough by now to gauge conversations in time spent together, right? She felt the looming shadow of him, torrid and tickling her spine. Whatever they decided to tell later followed the code of few dull moments either way.

ImageNight’s still young, even if busted in framework. Senna was at the edge of the room then, smoothing fabric that had been scrunched by her grip and released in pastel green rimples that were dampened with cold sweat. From the corner of her eye, a small head quavered back into existence. Out of camouflage, with perplexity finding her at her father’s side, was the same little girl from earlier. Senna now presumed ‘Jona’ as leader of the pack and terribly rustled man. Father. A strikingly whiskered figure who’d hammer the fear of God into anyone with a look or, as fate had it, a cane. Just the thought of absorbing that kind of blow made Senna wince. And made total sense. “Hey,” she lulled to Jona’s cub, “You’re lucky you know? Your papa eats bozos like my brother for breakfast. I wish I had his appetite, then I wouldn't be in so much trouble right now.” Modulation of her words curled around Colombian articulation in an almost maternal song. She spoke the way her mother always did, rarely raising her voice. Always steady. Like the last thing a person desired to hear before falling into REM, not only comfort and safety from nightmares, but promise to protect them the next day and all that followed. And that was enough. For now.

Dialing it back, Senna rounded to be met with a chimerical phantasm in drawn material. White teeth flashing behind steamy prattle, surely something she’d heard before. November. The sweetest of all miasmas, just in the way she shifted rolling hips. A Bel backer but not a lap dog. Senna closed the distance, chin resting on her shoulder with a tilt that let lips tickle the nape of her neck, “Hold me,” she joked, “My brother is a jackass, I’m but frail and weak. And overworked. And underpaid.” She beamed over November’s bone structure at Dominic who held a full glass. Esteemed him with words not found but the velvet of seeing his face again after so long. Nothing had granted her a bed of roses - but the consciousness of guitar strings slid across by fingers, now scarred and tattooed with rugged strife. They still weren’t ordinary. Not even in a place like this. And she felt at ease, pulling a slipped stem from behind her ear and laying it over the top of his glass. Floral restitutions never mislaid. Not even at the fists of someone who weighed in at two hundred pounds and ground his teeth at her family name, never. The love between these two was effective anesthetic in a world of malady and bloodshed. Toasted to with tacit oaths to never come apart or go blind when there were motley gardens waiting for them, some place at the edge of town where their damnation hadn’t yet touched.

Image “I’m gonna’ dip. See you later, maybe, Nov.” She’d brushed between Simon accidentally on her exit, arm snaking away from November and skimming the finer fabric of his pieced ensemble. Nice. Steamed, pressed, perfected. Even up to the shaped eyebrows and hedged facial hair. He’d make a hell of a fashion consultant, if he was his own, that is. A petite nod of approval and a quiet, “Sorry,” and she was moving through the dissipating crowd once again that only once grabbed her attention as she escaped.

Still here? Junko was inhabiting the post-entropy with intimidating polish but had found her attention snarled somewhere else. Senna could guess a few things, knowing that she sat at the second sovereignty of a formidable clan. Whatever was witnessed was small time shit for her. She’d fried way bigger fish just in the time it took most people to get dressed for work, so she may have been less concerned about what had Bel PMS’ing. Buuuuuuuuut taking her mode into consideration, she assuredly saw him as a smirch on the evening. Maybe Hani too. And Baby could not argue that him getting his mucky paws on her was a disaster in the making. Please don’t look my way and think I have anything to do with that.

October could have gone a little easier on its wind chill but the compromise was a low sixties strength that made it possible to wear dresses in a whirlwind of apricot leaves. A breeze whisked through her delicate build as she fared toward a flickering row of street lights, into twilight. She retrieved a cigarette, failing to find a lighter in her bag when the goosebumps from autumn’s wheezing made her raise her focus. Fancy finding you here.

His eyes were pitted apart by a narrow nose and hollower than the history he was known for, not just their own. Striated, he didn’t even smirk to acknowledge her. Only gazed into her without surprise. Like he knew she’d be down this road in particular. She wondered what had him at the same place, if the hands that moved to light her up were in anyone’s entrails lately. But if there was anything she’d learned from Aedan over their seemingly sempiternal scores, it was to not be surprised. Not by the needle nor nerve. Not by the scarlet-soaked slacks that didn’t make it quite into the hamper but instead threatened to bathe tile in DNA. He always cleaned up his own messes and everybody else’s. Made a killing doing it - and yes, that’s a considered conceit. A breath held itself in her sternum, mouth sulking for a moment and splitting into a smile at the turn of events, “Gracias, stranger,” gray coils hissed from a glowing cherry, “Are you just wandering or working?” She also knew with Aedan, she never had to worry. There was no fear associated with him in the way other people cowered. But was he scary? Absolutely. To her? No. Could he be if he wanted to? Yes. “Tuve una mala noche. Bel caused a whooooole mess back there, wanted to kill Gunner for some stupid...” She caught herself, refrained immediately, “Ah, fuck it. Nothing important. You got time to get a drink?” Aedan was different. A man of his word. Cold blooded, sharp, and every bit the dingo that would eat your baby.

It’s just the god damn heroin...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Chloe Williams Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Julia Bates Character Portrait: Junko Takayama Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson Character Portrait: Prudence Wright
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"Find the most scandalous piece you have in there."

Hands shook uneasily as they trailed over unfamiliar fabric, brow furrowed. The stench of week old perfumes clung to... Inappropriate and clearly not sanctioned dresses and skirts that had met the night of sinners one time too many. Eyes squinted in the dimly lighted room - a problem she has encountered day in and day out since she had first come to this lovely yet horribly placed little sanctuary - silence tearing through the occupants with a sense of anticipation and silence. A lip curled in, pearl white teeth capturing it in concentration, attention shifting to how dry that lower lip was, ever so slightly chapped -

Startlingly, her weight shifted, someone impolitely pushing her to the side with a sense of urgency. As she caught herself just barely in the small room with dim lighting and the otherwise uneven floorboards of often failing wood, her grey eyes strained to contain themselves. Prudence mentally prayed for the sinner, her smile returning to her ever so slightly chapped lips that she definitely must fix before going out on this very unusual assignment with unorthodox attire with her... 'Supervisor.'

Prudence could do tasks well enough - cleaning, cooking, leading prayer, organizing prayers, and even running through verses of the Bible with the preacher and Sisters for the homily - but never before had she been requested to perform a... Dare she say it? 'An unChristian activity that would suck the light of the Lord from her within mere seconds of her participation'? No, no, no, this was beyond horrible! She had been running prayers through her mind the moment she received the order but as a Sister in training how could she refuse an order directly from the Head Sister?


"Tell me, Sister Prudence," a wise voice replied earlier that day. Sunlight leaked just so through the windows, too bright to turn off the light but too dim to attend to activities requiring minuscule detail without the strain of eyes. Of course, no one dared suggest they closed the blinds and turn on the lights - the Lord provided them with His gift of sunshine, even this weakly carried kind.

At a table, two woman - an elderly woman with a dark cloth covering ebony hair, glasses hovering over the bridge of her nose, and a younger woman, not young but closing in on the end of her young years - resided across from each other, a checker board placed before them, game pieces scattered too and fro upon the wooden board. The one speaking, the elderly woman, shifted her gaze to the young women currently residing on the other side of the room. Prudence, on bent knees in front of a statue of the Lady of Guadalupe - in this community they had to refer to her by the name the community used - recited a solemn Amen, fingers tapping her forehead, heart, and finally her shoulders, before raising her eyes at the uncompleted call. She offered a bright smile as she always did, teeth glinting at what little light leaked into the room from the windows.

"Yes, Sister Marijo?" Prudence's voice lilted sweetly, eyes concentrated on the reverend leader - well, at least one of the leaders but definitely the most revered - of the settlement. She stood, not attempting to flatten the wrinkles of her skirt. Marijo's eyes scanned over the new recruit, the corner of her mouth curled in a knowing smile. Prudence beamed, glad she could bring about such a smile to the Sister's face.

The Head Sister parted her attention from the trainee for but a moment, calmly moving a piece and nodding at the Superior Sister across from her to move. "From what I am told, you have not been outside of this building yet. Other than, of course, arriving from..." Her velvet brown eyes returned, a glint of memory attempting to function from behind thick glass. "Virginia?" Prudence's head bobbed, proud to have deserved such attention from the respected figure after having been in the area for the past few days. "We have not talked before, Sister Prudence, please, tell me more about why you chose to join the Order of the Living Spirit." The woman settled back, hands folded on her lap and getting comfortable, only moving with minimal effort to move checker pieces.

Delight spiked up her spine, smiling ear to ear. Her hands clasps together as she gave a sharp nod. "Gladly, Sister Marijo. I had originally come from Virginia and have always been devoted to our Lord and Savior but never fully understood how to carry out His will-"


Sister Marijo's opponent had stepped into the conversation, gaze not leaving the game in front of her. As always, Sister Guadalupe interrupted with some sullen comment, border-lining some form of... Annoyance? Prudence had not idea what she had said that upset her superior so but either way the other... Made her feel unnerved. It was probably because she was new! Sister Guadalupe would warm up to her eventually. Or perhaps she has but wished for Prudence to prove herself? Before she could reply, a voice answered in her stead.

"Please, Sister Guadalupe, allow her to continue." Sister Guadalupe turned up with an almost annoyed expression, lips snarled with a desired come back but passed off as an attempt to find the next move. Her fingers moved forward deftly, the darkness of her fingers meeting a rose colored palm. Prudence always found a fascination with the other’s hands, no matter how much they disliked each other. They were not as delicate and dainty as her own but stronger as hours at this settlement could have brought about. She wondered if the pinkness of her palm also came from such work.

A small cough brought her into reality and she snapped her eyes away from the board, hands clenching one another in concentration before resting them on her lap. ”Thank you, Sister Marijo. I have done my best to carry out His will,” Prudence put perkily, smile widening to its original form. “Upon hearing about the Order of the Holy Spirit, which was located close to my home, I decided to join. I was more than willing to participate in this test introductory course - being the first to try out something like this is exciting! But I knew that coming here to spread the Word of God is a righteous activity that deserves the attention of all."

"I see... I see..." The Head Sister replied, now taking the time to execute her own move on the checker board. Prudence watched as the elderly Sister hummed to herself, leisurely responding to the move with little strain unlike the deep concentration of Sister Guadalupe. Without turning, the Head Sister continued. "Sister Prudence, how do you expect to spread the Word of God from inside the sanctuary? After, there are none to preach to other than those who have already learned of the Word of the Lord?"

A laugh escaped the opponent as she too made a quick and decisive move. ”Preaching to the choir,” she coughed, the age old adage causing Prudence some alarm. What was wrong to preaching to people who wanted to understand one’s own take on the Word of the Lord? Was it so bad to be surrounded by like minded individuals like that of the settlement?

A few more moves passed, the silence filled with the clicking of checker pieces and the occasional praise from Sister Marijo to Guadalupe. Prudence remained standing, unsure of what to say or who to say it to. As the game concluded - Sister Guadalupe’s persistent thoughtfulness had won her the match - Sister Marijo once more turned to Prudence, eyes concentrated on her and her answer. Prudence smiled brightly waiting for some answer to fall on her lips from the Almighty or some inkling of memory to slip in and rescue her. After all, such a simple question could not faze her, could it? No, no. It must not.

With a gentle sigh, Sister Marijo turned to the fourth Sister in the room who had remained silent to that point. ”Sister Mary?" A head raised, tearing away from the ceiling. Apparently, the young woman had been dozing, her head having been lolled back and resting comfortably against the arm of the chair, her body taking up what remained of the couch.”Please take Sister Prudence outside with you. One of the more active restaurants.” The Sister sat up almost immediately, jaw hanging ever so slightly.

Her reaction was not the only one.

Sister Guadalupe glanced up at Sister Marijo, then Prudence, followed by Sister Mary. Her brow raised in curiosity, one of the only expressions that Prudence has seen other than some form of disdain. Prudence, herself, could consider the reaction a bit… Underexaggerated. The shocked silenced them, almost making Prudence fish eyed at the suggestion. How could such a request be made of her - a God loving Christian who followed His commandments to the letter and did her best to make everyone get along with her - to go to an area where - excuse her language - Lucifer’s hell spawn infected those willing to slap the forgiving face of the Lord and doomed to eternal suffering?

"Now, Sister Marijo?" Sister Mary stuttered, glancing over at Prudence almost reluctantly before shifting her attention once more to her higher up. The Head Sister came a soft, elegant nod, turning to Prudence with a smile. For a moment, Sister Mary stared at the new trainee, unsure if the course of action were the wisest. After a quiet examination, however, a brow raised. ”Very well. Come with me, Sister Prudence." Sister Mary slung her legs off the couch, starting to the door but not without turning to check Prudence followed.

In silence, Prudence returned that optimistic smile to her face, nodding to the higher ups before dragging her feet forward - positive, Prudence, think positive! Reaching the door way, a voice called out. ”Before you go, I'd like to bring something up, Sister Prudence." She turned on her heel, a suppressed hope that Sister Marijo was simply testing her ability to follow orders as any sister must do. ”We may be here to teach but that does not mean we are not here to learn as well." Prudence felt her head tilt, confused. What could they learn about religion from anyone else? Were they not the only ones well versed enough in the Bible and how it should apply to daily life?

But a hand tugged her out the door a bit too excitedly.

"Here! Wear this!" Sister Mary called out, pressing a dress - should this even be called a dress - into her hands. Prudence gawked at it, fingers trying to become familiar with the strange… Fabric. It itched under her fingertips, reeking of sin and a strange and dingy perfume that - wait was that a stain? Prudence poked the area with her finger, trying to discern if it was part of the design or if it was actually as she suspected - a symbol of sin.

Her eyes raised, meeting Sister Mary’s. Her smile remained but eyes darted between her.. ‘guide’… and the guise of a demon. ”I… Um..."

Sister Mary let out a bubbly giggle, going through the closet for her own skin of sin. ”Come on, we can't go against Sister Marijo's orders.” That said, she began undressing on the spot, causing Prudence deep alarm. Red and turning away, she began to undo the buttons of her shirt, feeling the exterior she had for so long disappear in an instant to be covered by some strange itchy fabric of a deep red with a stain of some sort on her lower back - dried by now so she didn’t feel it but it irked her ever so much because she knew it was there-

"I... Find this extremely uncomfortable-" Prudence began, turning and again shocked into silence. Sister Mary’s cleavage peeked out of the strapless dress, almost daring to fall out. The sides of her stomach were completely exposed and… Were those stilettos? Prudence felt herself falter and fall deeper and deeper into sin for simply staring at such a sight. Where was this woman’s modesty?!? They were Sisters! Why in the world would Sister Marijo suggest such a thing?

"Let's go! Time is a wasting!" Sister Mary cried out, throwing on a jacket and tossing one to Prudence. In a split second, she moved to grab a bag of sorts and took Prudence’s hand, leading her through the house in urgency, out the kitchen’s delivery door, and into the cold, unforgiving streets of Brooklyn.

Prudence felt thankful that she had the jacket but confusion still riddled her insides. A click was heard behind her and Prudence spun around, seeing the door closed. Glancing at Sister Mary who was heading in the opposite direction - away from the light of Jesus - she reached out and attempted to open the door once more. The doorknob refused to give way. Her hand raised, about to knock, but stopping.

This was a test.

The Lord was testing her, putting her in the skin of the devil, allowing her the ability to sin despite her obvious faith - a Book of Job moment! Yes! She had to prove herself to not only her Lord but her Sisters as well as herself. Prudence could endure any trial placed upon her. Her grin returning, she trotted after the stilettoed guide who’s silhouette almost disappeared in the dark streets.

For the most part, the night was quiet. She could feel the cool air against her skin, the blessing shine of the Moon glowing down on her… My it was a lovely night. Prudence enjoyed walking side by side with the questionable guide, often exchanging a few words but nothing about this test or the purpose. After all, the Lord worked in mysterious ways. Then of course someone had to come along.

The various smells of the street and honks of distant cars prevented her from noticing the man coming up from behind her, grimy hand reaching out and stroking her arm ever so slightly. She reeled away almost immediately, eyes widened in shock and surprise. Her hand raised, not attempting to hide the disdain from suffering through the man’s stench of intoxicating fumes: smoke, alcohol… Was that one strange smell drugs? How could the Lord make her be touched by something so far from His light? ”Heh... Wouldn't you feel comfortable with a stick up your ass...?" The man slurred, tongue slowly going over his lips. At first, she believed what came out of his mouth and what he did with his mouth were two entirely different things.

Then a second passed.

Appalled, she took a step back. ”Excuse you, I am a Sister and that is extremely rude. Please apologize,” Prudence replied, glancing at her side to see Sister Mary was no longer there. Something sickening leaked into her, heart pounding a mile a minute with pinpoint sharp irises and rapid breaths. Her attention was on the man and his alcoholic breath, his grimy hands, how she felt the dirt and sin through her jacket. He took a step closer, breathing into her face. Her face cringed.

"If you like banging the Bible, you'll love banging me."

"Pru, pay him no mind. He's always out here making some comment or another." That sickening feeling drained away as quickly as it appeared and she hastily left the unwanted conversation without so much as a good bye. Her heart raced and she walked side by side with the Sister, glancing back at the man who, after seeing her run away, had just shrugged and moved on. How did she know that? Why cause her such agony in a single moment? What was the point of all this?

"Sister Mary-" She began before a finger came up at her.

"Just Mary out here, hun,” the other remarked, grinning. As they turned the corner, Sister Mary came to a halt, looking over at Prudence with an overly confident grin that made Prudence uneasy yet… Safe? Was that the phrase? No, this Sister knew what she was doing. Especially if she was about to walk into - excuse her language - Satan’s jamboree? “Welcome to the Little Lady: your first experience to the world outside the sanctuary."

Prudence scanned the area, failing to count the amount of dingy, sinning children that filled the coffin. Her nose cringed upon seeing they had entered near the bar, the reek of drunkards wafting through the air. Men and women alike talked regularly, the light of the Lord hidden from them - the poor souls. ”This is a brooding place for sin, Sister Mary, why are we here?"

"Marijo's orders. Just watch." That said, Sister Mary glanced around the room before leading her to the end of the bar, placing Prudence on the first seat and herself on the left. Her eyes glanced at the bartender. "Virgin Mary,” she requested, waiting for it to come.

Prudence gawked at her. ”Are you ordering alcohol?"

"We're here to observe. Plus, if we hang around the edges and act like newbies, we'll fall prey to predators." The drink came but the most Sister Mary did was stir it. No more words were exchanged, ending their conversation indefinitely.

So Prudence did just that. Sit and watch. Every second that passed, the number of people in the restaurant increased and the number of sins doubled exponentially. She lost count after 30 and that was only a few minutes in. The hustle and bustle of the area caused the noise to become overwhelming and Prudence wondered if this was one of those “raves.” She watched and examined but failed to understand what exactly she was supposed to learn. How to sin? How to sin not as bad? How there are various degrees of sin, unrestricted by age and gender. Wait, did she just see a little girl? The poor dear!

As all was being said… Well, the event moved quickly. All Prudence could recall was raising her head with a start, staring at the man with broken glass embedded in his hand as he began a one man riot, flipping tables, pushing people, having to be restrained.

And then there were guns, a yell, a hit… Then a calm with broken tables and chairs, a group of people wandering around the scene of sin ever so quickly.

A hand reached over, patting her shoulder and nearly causing her to fall off her stool from surprise. ”We should get you out of here. This escalated too quickly,” she muttered, already leading her the long way around the restaurant to the door where other people had begun to file out as well. Prudence searched the area, the faces of anger and grief and confusion and even sadness. They… Did not seem to want it as much as she did not want it to happen.

…These people needed help.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jonathan Moore Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Jaehyun Kim Character Portrait: Junko Takayama
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In the chaos and the he said, she said, guns poised and loaded, and scornful words hanging in the thick air, Hani had felt brave [though most might think it was just plain stupid. Completely casting aside the fact that at any given moment, and perhaps not even on purpose, shots would be fired. Though petite, she was not small enough to be missed by a bullet. Nor did she have the power to stop them once they decided to take flight. Why, in this planet and under anything she deemed precious to her, had she concluded that stepping into the middle of a brawl was anywhere near a solid idea, as if she had some kind of incantations that would suddenly make everything upright again. Though she wanted nothing more than to be able to fix other’s problems with a wave of a finger, that wasn’t the case, nor would it ever be. If by any chance she had formulated a plan before making a heroic entrance, it was now completely forgotten. Impromptu strategies of attack were never her strong suit, but perhaps in the hype of the moment she could have come up with something, anything to keep this from escalating. She hadn’t. Not really. Getting Bel out of the bar. That was the plan. That was the only plan. The hows and wheres were still a bit hazy. Actually, they were nonexistent. Nor could she have imagined how effective [or ineffective] her attempt at seizing fire would be. Eyes wide with bewilderment, and perhaps horror, stared the both of them down as Bel squeezed in his last threat before following her out. Hani knew who the subject of the threat was. Not her. Never. All for his beloved sister, his family, the only thing worth fighting for. He wasn’t dangerous... enraged, battered, alcohol induced bravery and all, she still firmly believed so, and judging by the fretful stares given on they way out, she could safely conclude she was the only one.

You’re a good man, Bel

Words that hadn’t been used enough before, not even by her. Someone had to tell him. Though his methods were askewed, the cause was noble. Would her brothers do the same for her? She liked to believe so. She would walk through hell and back, hands full of souvenirs, for those that managed to snatch a piece of her heart, not that such a thing took much effort. One might think she was desperate for love the way she handed it out to everyone, but she wasn’t. Quite the opposite in fact. She was desperate to give it. Namely to those whom didn’t seem to ever have enough, like Bel. A broken man in need of stability. He wasn’t the horrid person spectators made him up to be...not in her eyes.

Not that her view of him mattered

He isn’t the type to care about what others think of him, that much she had pinned down. In her case it wasn’t any different, but in that moment trivial things such as those didn’t matter. Once outside, the harsh air lashing out at them as if it too had a few things to set straight, everything that had just occured felt even heavier. They were out of The Little Lady but were they out of the woods yet?. ”Yeah, hey…” steamed breath and battered hands tucked away steel and Hani knew they were in the clear, at least for the time being. The moon hung over them, watching in silence as if it didn’t dare to speak a single syllable, afraid to reveal the dust hidden beneath the carpet. These encounters were bound to happen one way or another, if not here then elsewhere. More often than not, she wouldn’t be there to do what she just did. More often than not, she would be unaware, and Bel would have to fend for himself, as would Senna. Hani knew they were both more than capable of doing so under any circumstances, and that was precisely what perturbed her. But regardless of how much she’d try, being there at every one of those instances to smooth things over was impossible in every sense of the word. Spending time with the Zaires [and the Bates - and countless others] was forbidden. A word that had been drilled into her mind since leaving the womb.
“I know. I should have known better. Why’d you come up in there like that, huh?”


There it was again. The million dollar question that not even the most irrational side of Hani’s mind could answer. Could it had been for Senna and her noble attempts at keeping the peace, or maybe Simon and his desire for calm, quiet nights, maybe even for Gunner and his warrior heart, ready and more than willing to take down anyone that threatened his blood, or had it all just been for him...for Bel. I’ll get back to you when I have an answer for that. Not even she could comprehend the works of her actions. Why she did certain things for certain people was a question that never seemed to disappear. She could have just walked out, unnoticed, and saved herself the trouble of being part of a situation she had no control over and no business being in? No. That was cowardly. Something that Hani certainly was not. Small, fragile at heart, but not a coward. She could have gotten hurt, she realized that just as Bel did, but that was true for anyone that had the misfortune of being in there. ”You could have been killed…” she retorted, her tone soft and careful, as if speaking too harshly would cause him to crumble, or worse, turn on her. For all that it was worth, she would stand there quietly as he let his anger out on her if she was certain it would help him in any way. But he didn’t. Instead he apologized, something Hani didn’t hear often.

Am I mad at you? ...Does it matter?

ImageFor reasons unbeknownst to her, he seemed to care about being in her good graces, but what right did she have to be angry with him? ” I’m not mad” she spoke as if her words had any weight. Maybe they did, but it never felt that way. One or two steps closer and the distance he had put between them had vanished just as easily as it had appeared. He was unobtrusive now, static, swallowed by the shadows casted by the intimidating New York skyline. Eyes fixated on her, which she ever so slowly dared to meet. The blue-laced decked bandanna framing her tranquil features slipped off of it’s rightful position on her head and was carefully wrapped around bleeding knuckles and palm. It was useless really, but it was all she had to offer, sided with a weary smile.

”But I’m not the one you need to apologize to”

They both knew who she was referring to. The dark haired beauty that had been left behind in a bar chalk full of hostility and thirst for revenge, cleaning up after her brother’s mess possibly for the hundredth time. She was the heroine of this story, not Hani. Small hands wrapped around a rough one, battered and bruised from one too many fights. A five second linger and they were gone, back in the warmth of her pant pockets. She knew her time with him was up. Once it was all clear, she would disappear just as swiftly as she appeared and he would forget all about her, returning to his daily schedule of beautiful vixens, dangerous nights crowded with too much alcohol and not enough sex and a vow to protect his sister’s honor. A place in which he had no room for an inexperienced, insipid girl like her.

ImagePatrons began to scatter, emptying out The Little Lady even quicker than it had filled up. Her gazed lingered on the entrance of the now desolate bar not a second too long, before returning to the broken soul in front of her. Senna had left the premises, she had without a doubt done all she could to mend bridges, now it was Bel’s turn. A bridge burned between friends was unfortunate, but a bridge burned between family was lethal. ”Go on” she encouraged with a gesture towards the angelic presence that was leaving the bar. He no longer needed Hani, assuming that he ever did, and Hani needed a drink. In an instance of panic, he could call her as he usually did, and she would no doubt be there. Not now wasn’t one of those times. Not daring to look back, or wait for him to ask her to stay, she gravitated back towards the scene of conflict, now a lifeless box. Very few people remained, thankfully no one intent on making any more trouble. Jona would only handle so much damage.

Quiet steps made their way back up to the bar. Throwing a quick and apologetic smile in Jun’s direction, because she was no doubt going to get a mouthful from her for her act of idiocy, she waved at the mildly less irritated brick of a man behind the counter. The palms of her hands were sweaty and her heart felt as if it were merely moments from ripping through her pale skin. Her mind fixated on the man she had just walked away from. He'll be fine...he doesn't need you. That was the most logical thought that had passed threw her head that day.

”Could I um...could I get a strawberry vodka please?”.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Sienna Henderson
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Jasper leaned back against the bar counter, picking at the skin between his fingers and watching what was left of the situation unfold, particularly Senna. Looking like the earth before sin, skin made of calm and bones made of chaos. It was just like her to pick up the pieces her brother left behind after he’d gotten done making a mess of the place. In another lifetime he might tell her that there were other ways to show love than by suffering, but he also knew better, and instead turned his attention elsewhere after she passed by Simon and left the Little Lady altogether. After scanning what use to be a crowd, he caught sight of his latest project eyeing him up and down. As if on cue, he returned the well dressed man’s smirk and slid off the chair, all reminders of the past event quickly forgotten when the thought of dope and sex was on the table.

It’d be a lie to say Jasper wouldn’t withstand a thunderstorm of violence for ten seconds of Simon’s mouth. You don’t always hit the lotto when it comes to hooking up, but every now and then you find someone who makes it seem like less of a chore. Even still, for all the tailored suits, groomed facial hair, and hulking mass that was Simon Bates, he must have had some underlying issues to be associating with the likes of Jasper, all bones and questions marks, nothing solid. Nothing sturdy. A hangman’s noose where good men went to die. Sometimes, in a withdrawal fueled moment of hysteria, Jasper couldn’t help but wonder what monsters inside of them longed for the presence of the other. After all, people with monsters recognized each other easily, knowing the other inside and out without saying a single word. And then, of course, he’d shoot up and remember why he’d joined this partnership in the first place. The older man, as far as connections went, was easily Jasper’s most profitable investment. And with any prized steer, you had to take care of it accordingly. Tell it what it wants to hear. Make it feel how it wants to feel. If Jasper had learned anything in his short life time of soliciting handouts, it was that it was always better to be the thrill than the thrilled.

When you’re the electric shock, the adrenaline rush, the potential for danger, people come to you. They seek you out before you even have to lift a finger. Jasper invited any and everybody to come feast on his body and become delirious with just the need of him. There was no need to be beautiful when you could be less than that and still be someone’s craving and restless pacing. It seemed far too early to gauge just how far Jasper’s teeth had sunk into the youngest Bates. That whole family just seemed to be a different breed than the likes of which Jasper had hijacked, much like a parasite, in the past. But still, everyone had the same basic needs and interest, and he’d be a fool not to take this relationship as far as it could go. Jasper slinked across the bar to do just that, shamelessly bumping elbows and shoulders and meeting offended glances with a malicious leer of his own. Soon enough he was standing next to Simon’s side like an apparition.

“Maybe it was something along the lines of how open you’d be to holding a camera while the two of us fuck,” Jasper interrupted, catching the end of Sienna’s question with a self-satisfied smirk and something of a slow drawl to his voice. He really wasn't concerned with their conversation. Or whether it received the necessary closure. “Speaking of which,” Jasper turned his attention back to Simon, blood whistling through his body like a kettle set to boil. He could front as if the promise of a good time and arguably free dope didn’t phase him, but everybody had a vice. He leaned on the bar with both forearms, turning to look at Simon with a tilt of his head and a gleam of deviltry in his eye as his gaze became fixated on the bearded man. "I hope that look had some intention behind it. Not that all this bad blood between families isn't doing it for me," he smirked. If he had to carry all the weight that came with not only a family name but the drama it attracted, he'd be doing whatever it took to find something, anything, that could help him dissociate from the reality of his lot in life. And with that being said Jasper needed to find his own something to combat the trials of living. He pushed off from the bar and turned on his heels to make his way out of the bar. "Ready when you are."