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Greyson Ross

"Formula for success; violence, drugs, and sex"

0 · 947 views · located in Chicago

a character in “Hale's House of Boys”, as played by Ivisbo

Description

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When I'm fucked up, that's the real me
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      ♩ NAME⋮ Greyson Ross
      ♢ ALIAS⋮ Grey
      ♩ OCCUPATION⋮ Dancer
      ♢ AGE⋮ 24
      ♩ ETHNICITY⋮ Scottish/English
      ♢ SEXUALITY⋮ Homosexual


      ♩ EYE COLOR⋮ Cyan Blue
      ♢ HAIR COLOR⋮ Caramel Brown
      ♩ HEIGHT⋮ 6'1
      ♢ WEIGHT⋮ 160



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♊♢♊♢♊ I only love it when you touch me, not feel me
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

WORDS
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WORDS


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♊♢♊♢♊ Drugs start to feeling like it's decaf
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xx ♢  ♢
♩ VODKA ♩ COKE ♩ WEED ♩ BODY MODS ♩ BDSM ♩ CIGARETTES ♩ TATTOOS ♩ FELINES ♩ BREAKFAST FOOD♩





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♢ QUIET ♢ BEING ALONE ♢ BRIGHT LIGHTS, INCLUDING DAYTIME ♢ WAKING UP TOO BEFORE HES READY ♢ PUSHY AUTHORITY ♢ SHARING ♢ CANINES ♢ COFFEE SHOPS ♢
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♊♢♊♢♊ Tryna keep it up, don't seem so simple
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 | 

♩ STARES ALOT, USUALLY WITHOUT REALIZING ♢ SMOKING ♩ HOLDING EYE CONTACT FOR TOO LONG ♢ OVER EATING, AND THEN UNDER EATING ♩ DISAPPEARING WITHOUT EXPLANATION ♢ TAKING UP THE MOST SPACE ON THE COUCH ♩ NOCTURNAL, FOR THE MOST PART ♢ LISTENING TO RULES AND DOING THE OPPOSITE

 | 

♩ SEX KINK ;As most people that have chosen the life of a sex worker, Grey's addicted to arousal just like any of his drugs. He needs it and is glad that he can use his addiction to earn him money. Grey usually prefers the jobs that give him a little more- toys, ropes, whips, and sensory play are his true passions in the bedroom. He doesn't really find much interest in vanilla sex and only takes clients that are willing for a bit more fun.
♢ PERSUASIVE AS FUCK ;Need someone to talk you into something? Grey's your guy. Theres little he can't entice someone into, whether thats a sexual act or trying some crazy foreign food. Grey loves the control that gives him, adores that it makes people want him more, and uses his ability as much as he can. He's charming about it, with his dark hair and light light eyes, people are drawn to make him happy.
♩ DANCING ;Maybe because he gives zero fucks what people think about him, but Grey is an exceptional dancer. Though he takes almost as many clients to bed as the rent boys, Grey chose to also be a dancer cause he fucking loves it. Captivating people, forcing their eyes on him and only him, sliding his body against someone else and feeling it pulse for more. Almost as good as convincing someone there life can be saved if they buy one more packet of coke.


 | 

♩ ADDICT ;Anything and everything that Grey likes, he wants more of. Moderation isn't really a thing for him. He's good at managing it until he suddenly isn't- he likes to pretend he knows what he's doing, that shit is in control, until the floor bottoms out below his feet. But Grey's a cycle and always pulls himself back up from below, only to start all over again.
♢ DOESN'T UNDERSTAND 'NO' ;Only reason anyone would say no is because they need to be convinced to say yes, right? Grey can and will spend all his energy fixing that 'no' issue if it bothers him enough. Sometimes he lets it slid, sometimes he ticks away at his brain and he gets obsessed with changing it to a yes.
♩ BIPOLAR ;Clinically diagnosed, Grey used to take medication. He left that shit a while ago and fixes his issues by self medicating with his addictions and vices. He gets bad sometimes, but strangely always managed to pull through. It used to be the tight nit family of Hale's that made his problems manageable, but now its the drugs.
♢DEPENDENT WHILE BEING INDEPENDENT ;He needs people while not needing them. Its not that he wants to be taken care of or loved, but he wants to be touched. He finds people to fill his bed, spreads his legs wider on the couch to brush a knee against his neighbor, seeks out groups where he knows boys will be pressed together. Maybe its the electricity that passes between people, or maybe Grey is really just afraid to be alone.


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♊♢♊♢♊ And all these motherfuckers want a real love
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

For the dingy, street rat neighborhood Grey grew up in, his early upbringing was almost normal. He had two parents, both of whom were married a year before his birth. They'd been high school sweet hearts, best friends since diapers, two people that literally had never experienced life without the other. Their romance was one for the big screen, but like most intense loves it burned too hot. They screamed at each other constantly, threw objects across the living room and slammed doors. No fists were ever involved but it always looked like the hovered right on the brink. Grey was used to a household of swearing and cursing, following by long drawn out silences and the banging of bed post on wall. They loved each other and kissed constantly, sometimes even forgetting he was there. Though he was their proudest achievement, Grey was more object then human, something they could bring out to play with when they saw fit.

He figured out early on that his dad was sick, something that made him ecstatic one moment and then disappear for days the next. His mom took care of him, doted on him, and Grey learned to do the same.

Sometime around his fourteenth birthday his dad disappeared. He'd do that from time to time, nothing knew, but it lasted. And Lasted. Three months went by, three months of his mother sobbing herself to sleep, shooting up to stay calm, and harassing the police for information. But they lived in a shit neighborhood of Chicago, the place where disappearances were the norm and mentally ill citizens were treated like trash.

Without his dad there to take care of, Grey's mom lost her sense of self. They'd been together since high school and she'd spent most of her life looking after him. Drugs, alcohol, days left alone to take care of himself. He thought maybe she was looking for his dad, but knew deep down that she'd probably given up. When the heat stopped in the middle of winter and his mom hadn't shown for two weeks, Grey took off.

He spent the next couple years of his life hoping from couch to couch. He kept going to school, mostly because it was the easiest way to find a new place to crash. It wasn't really a surprise when he started selling, cause a fourteen year old kid living on the streets needed an easy way to feed himself. Thing is, he was good at it. His boss would say it was his god damned eyes, or maybe just cause he was a white kid in a black neighborhood. Either way, Grey quickly became one of the top sellers in the area.

After that its pretty easy to see where his life went. His influence grew, but he kept with selling and never moved further up the ranks. The people he sold to wanted him, and fucking loved the power it gave. The money was an upside as well- he was able to get his own apartment, car, and spent an atrocious amount on filling his entire body with tattoos. Sex, drugs, and money made him feel like he was king of the world and he wanted more.

Grey's downfall was greed, a sin that probably should have landed him with a bullet to the brain. Upselling and stealing clients, because Greys need for more overshadowed any of the consequences. Maybe it was his age that got him out relatively unharmed, or maybe his boss had a soft spot for the kid with no where else to go. At nineteen he was cutoff from all contact with his suppliers, given a short a sweet beating with a bat, and dumped at the hospital with nothing to his name.

Thats when Oliver found him, a bloodied up kid arguing with the nurses over his inability to pay his hospital bill and obvious track marks dotting his tattooed arms. He must have looked as pitiful as he felt, cause the older man payed for his charges and took him out for a burger. Explained his business, made it clear drugs weren't allowed. Grey would have to get clean and leave all that shit behind him, but he could belong somewhere.

Grey excelled. More then excelled, Grey made dancing and fucking his passion. He had one of those one-track-mind mentalities and he threw himself into his new job. The biggest issue was the drugs- he'd been on them since he was fifteen and five years of addiction was hell to clean up from. Val was there for that, Val that had already been through getting sober and new all the shit that it caused. He had Max as well, who somehow became a distraction when he might have slipped up. Grey wanted to stay- actually liked the life he was building at Hales- but there was also the issue of his mental stability. Because of the coke and various other drugs, Grey's inherited bipolar disorder had been relatively masked as side effects of usage. He hated himself off his addictions and didn't want to be clean, didn't want to know how much like his father he was underneath. He hated Debbie for making him get clean. Hated Val for understanding and hated Max for being there. Sometimes even hated Oliver for giving a fuck about him. Mood swings were one thing, but a pissed off Greyson Ross looked like a demon on a rampage. They were invested in making him fix himself, but someone that doesn't think they are broken can't be forced into it.

He a bit over a year at Hales before he disappeared. He was there one night, entertaining his normal guests, and then gone the next. No note, no notice, just vanished exactly like his dad had.

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

FACE CLAIM ; STEPHEN JAMES
PLAYED BY ; IVISBO
CS CREATED BY ; VERIX

So begins...

Greyson Ross's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dalton Leigh Character Portrait: Emrys Von Nacht Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: David Shaw Character Portrait: Isaac Lisiewicz Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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#, as written by Ivisbo
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"Swore I was going to be someone
And growing up everyone always does
We sell our dreams and our potential
To escape through that buzz"


Brick walls, neon lights, trash filled alleyways and grimy streets. Expensive SUV’s parked next to broken down tagged up Toyotas. Women on street corners waiting for middle aged men in luxury vehicles and thugs smoking on beat up porch steps. It had been almost three years since he’d been here and nothing had change much. Chicago was still a city mixed with everything and nothing, neighborhoods of people that spent their lives in repetition and kept themselves sane with dreams of better ones. He grew up in the shit, one of those pockets of Chicago’s south side that had been forgotten by the law enforcement of the city. One thing about Grey’s life up till now was that it was everything or nothing. His parents- with their fathomless intensity, his childhood- gloriously normal until it wasn’t, his city- walled up riches against the ruins of the slums.

He’d had it fucking amazing for a while. Young and naive about how the industry worked, just thought he could sell his shit and focus on making the most money for himself. Worked the system; made the most bang-for-his-buck, kept a little on the side for himself. Learned the hard way that if you aren’t careful in this world, shit can go sideways real fast. But he still needed that 'more'. Still needed to be on top and have everything he wanted as soon as he wanted it. Drugs not only brought him money, the brought him power. The ecstasy of control over others, a control that he craved in himself.

ImageImageWhen he left Hales three years ago, he’d been a piss poor example of himself. Skin and bones and sweat cause he’d struggled for so long against his own needs and strung out from the relief of deciding that sobriety wasn’t for him. The anticipation of that first non-guilty high, the relief of the white powder flushing through his system was enough for him to realize he was not going back. No fucking way, not even if they tried draggin’ him. Thing is- in their world- people went missin’ often. Grey’s disappearance was probably chalked up to another fucked up druggie with no hope of redemption. Dead or might as well be.

No one came lookin', so Grey let himself fall back into his old life easily.

He’d only been gone for a year, but last time he’d been in the drug business he’d fucked up most of his relationships. Old boss wouldn't be wanting him back and the rest had heard of young Greyson Ross stealin' money from a drug lord at 18. He struggled for the first few months, over did it more then he had before, got wrapped up in syringes and razor blades and glass pipes. Binging on addiction after a year of trying to be something he wasn't... he'd given it a shot for those people that cared, but when it came down to it he wasn't built for that. Inherited a fucked up head that needed the drugs to function. They made his ever changing conscious securely high, which was a constant that he could feel sure of.

Grey's personality was kinetic, so it really didn't take long for him to find purchase in a new drug ring. New boss, new suppliers, people that were aware of his earlier fuck ups. One thing he learned at Hales was how to turn pleasure into currency- whiles Hale's business strategy was focused on a certain type of pleasure, Grey didn't have a hard time applying his knowledge to selling. People were attracted to him, not just his muscles and tattoos and piercing eyes, but his alluring depth of danger. He looked like a predator, or at least something to be treated with trepidation. Humans always seemed to be most attracted to danger, there was a reason the carnivores at the zoo always got the largest crowds... and is personality coupled with the product made making a name for himself again a breeze. Grey knew drugs and he knew people, he could sense shifts in temperaments almost like they were his own. Maybe that was because his own emotions varied so wildly, or because he'd grown up monitoring his dad. Either way , it was easy for him to be pulling in over 400k a year and moving up the ranks to higher pharmaceuticals deals, higher grade cocaine and meth, and wealthier clients.

But that same issue remained- Grey would always need more.

ImageIt was almost dawn when the cab dropped him off in front of the tall blank wall of brick, a single door illuminated by a neon open sign. Three years and nothing had changed, apart from his reasons for showing back up. While Hales was once a sanctuary for him, now it was more an investment... place was filled with the lowlifes he sold to, people he hadn't made connections with, and potential new dealers. Why not meld his business with the lucrative world of Hales pleasures? There wasn't anything that mixed together better then sex and drugs.

Grey let a long drag of smoke filter out with the heat of his breath, clouding in front of the neon lights and making them hazily slid in and out of focus. His pupils filled up the majority of his light blue eyes, his mind running a million times faster then the world around him. Fast was good, fast kept things moving and excelling and getting exactly what he wanted. He had a duffel in hand filled minimally with a few stacks of cash, some clothes, and a couple bundles of coke. His apartment was still filled with all his shit, but Hales had that sweet penthouse and Grey couldn't turn down the apartment full of potential investments.

He remembered the front door security, barely. Grey'd never been that into making connections last time, apart from the few that had weaseled there way into his day-to-day life. He stopped and stared at the dark haired man, unsure if he was recognizable from three years ago or not. Grey really didn't care if he was known still, but by the way Tito lifted an arched brow at him made him think he was. Three years had hardened his face, his already sculpted jawline more defined and harsh brow even more intense. Light blue eyes with massive pupils, a mouth constantly set in a sarcastic smirk. Since he'd been here his tattoos had grown, no longer just covering his arms but reaching up over his neck and filling the full expanse of his chest, stomach and back.

"About to close up Mate, but go on in" Tito looked amused, like Grey's appearance was some kind of inside joke. Probably just excited for something different prowling through the doors.

ImageThe lounge hadn't changed since he'd been there. Different underage bartenders, new dancers, but the decor and darkly lit lounge had remained unchanged. He dumped his bag at the bar and ordered himself a vodka straight up, tossed a twenty as tip, and barely gave the bartender a second glance. Dallas stared a little longer then normal, probably trying to place him, but Grey back towards the room before he could make the connection.

He found Val immediately, chatting up some bleach blonde haired kid. Nothing surprising there, seemed the guy was destined to fill the hallowed halls of Hale's for the rest of his life. Grey let his eyes roam over his old friend, taking a long sip of his vodka as he eye fucked the other male. He had a thing for the messy looking 'I haven't showered in a few days' look ever since he worked here, and he was sure it was just cause he needed a little more of Valentine Cervantes in his life. Guy had been a thorn in his side his entire year at Hales, but Grey'd found himself missing the nagging trashcan of a human. His eyes moved to find that other familiar face he was sure had stuck around, not finding that giddy ball of saturated ecstasy present. Maybe Max had moved on, though Grey had a hard time picturing him anywhere else but here.

As much as he wanted to saunter up to Val and grab a fistful of that messy 'freshly fucked' hair, Grey stayed back. He was slightly wary of Oliver and Spencer, but even more wary of the Queen Bitch. He'd never gotten along with Debbie from the start and he was sure as hell not going to get along with her now, not after he took off for that glorious life of dealing and using.

Movement from the staircase caught his attention as Max descended, looking almost exactly the same as he had a few years ago. Thicker, more bulk, matured beyond that slight teenage ganglyness he'd had, but still that bundle of crazed movement and pure giddiness that made him so memorable. Grey stared at him, licking his lips as a small smirk spread across his face. He raised a brow as he caught the blue eyed mans gaze and raised his glass in greeting, tucking back the remainder of the vodka as the shit of coming back began.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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Max stretched out comfortably across egyption cotton sheets and grinned up at the ceiling. He was tired but feeling oh so good. Alexander hadn’t been the freakiest he’d ever met, but he’d been a lot of fun, and that made a damn good night in Max’s book.

He’d left looking just as fancy as he had coming in, but Max wasn’t so lucky. There were scratch marks and hickeys that wouldn’t fade for a while, but whatever they cost extra and Max had a nice new chunk of cash to his name now.

He rolled himself out of bed eventually to find his clothes and pull them back on, then ran his fingers through his hair a couple of times before finally leaving his room, marking it to be cleaned while he was out.

He took a detour by Ian’s desk to grab one of the lollipops he kept there, winked, and then took the steps back down to the main floor two at a time. It was late now, he could feel it in the atmosphere even though he hadn’t set eyes on a clock yet. There was still music playing, but the chatter wasn’t as loud as it usually was. Almost closing time, then.

He bounced off the last step and swung around the banister into the lounge, his gaze darting across the scattered crowd, looking for familiar faces. David had just come in, from the looks of it, and he was pretty sure that was Jordan by Val. He wondered if Isaac was still around, he hadn’t seen him in awhile, wouldn’t mind messing with him.

Out of habit, he looks towards the bar before he makes his way across the room, and gets frozen in the crosshairs of bright blue iris’ he would know anywhere. The last three years slam into his chest hard enough he almost loses his balance. Just like that the world disappears from under his feet, spins around and twists all up until he’s left with only the feeling of Val’s fingers digging into his shoulders and the sight of his lips mouthing the words: ”He’s gone, Max, he’s not coming back” even though they don’t make any sense and he can’t hear him. Dead. Drugged. Lost. Gone. Gone. Gone.

Three years. Three years of nothing.

The haze clears and Grey smirks at him and it almost sends him over the edge again. He remembers it, over and over again. From across the breakfast table, lifting a bottle of maple syrup in a silent joke only for him and Val. From the couch before he eventually admitted the floor wasn’t okay and gave into sprawling across the boys. From a drink behind the bar, from a bedroom door before it shut, from hallways and staircases. From above him before the pleasure swallowed him whole and the euphoria blinded him.

His heart rips to shreds right then and there.

Grey toasts him.

He looks the same but different, in a way that Max can’t exactly put his finger on. Like he’s there but he’s not really. He’s older, of course, more man than he was the last time Max saw him. All sharp jawline and too many tattoos and a fucked up sense of age. And he’s here.

Grey’s here.

He’s alive.

Max can’t breathe.

He can’t breathe.

HIs heart is beating fast enough he can’t hear the music anymore, and he turns around purposefully before putting his hand against his throat wondering why something isn’t there closing it. Why can’t he...

Val. His feet move but he isn’t entirely sure how because he can’t breathe, but he knows where he saw Val last. Doesn’t give a shit that Jordan’s there, doesn’t give a shit that customers are. He feels young all of the sudden.

He bumps into someone who grumbles but they’re too drunk to yell at him, lets him pass with only a muttered curse, and then he manages to push himself into Val’s side. His face goes into his friend's shoulder, and his hand slides down to twine their fingers together. He hasn’t done this in years. A silent request of ‘I need you. Don’t be a jackass right now’.

He can’t breathe. He can’t breathe, he can’t breathe, he can’t breathe.

He feels Val tense for a minute, and then slowly squeeze his hand back, and gradually air fills his lungs again. It hurts, but it works. He’s not high. He hasn’t been high in so long. Which leaves only two options. “Max,” Val prompts, not kindly, but not as snapish as he usually is. “What’s going on?”

It can’t be real. It can’t be. Three years. People don’t just show up from nowhere after three goddamn years. “Val,” he whispers, and fuck if he doesn't feel eighteen again. He hates it, and knows Val can't hear him, not with the way he's pressed to him, not with the background noise.

He takes a deep breath and forces himself to talk a little louder, holding onto Val’s hand so tightly his knuckles turn white. “Either I’ve finally lost my mind, or Greyson Ross is sitting at our bar.” If Val had been tense before, it was nothing compared to what those two words do to his body language.

Max can't even look.

He's afraid of either answer.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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Image Halfway between Johnny what's his name and lets go upstairs, Val finds himself at that inevitable impasse of boredom. Fresh fucked but dwindling on his sexual high. One can only fuck so much before their dick is well and truly incapable of going on. Rest in peace buddy, there will be more work on the morrow.

The alcohols long gone from his system - swept out in the sea of sheets. It only lets the boredom sink in that much deeper. Usually he'd have Max nipping at his heels but tonight it looks like he's found entertainment elsewhere.

Debbie eyes him like he's a criminal the few times he wanders too close to the bar with that usual air of 'don't fuck with me' attitude to keep him at bay. He decides not to push his luck any further tonight, besides, there's plenty of alcohol in the penthouse. Fuck her for thinking he's not going to indulge every once in a while. Booze is better than the alternative.

A few hours pass entertaining the guests in the lounge. Val sits between two regulars for a while, exchanging small talk and sexual innuendo till the sun starts to rise up. About this time is when most of the customers filter out, back to their normal lives. Back to families and friends who probably know fuck all about their extracurricular activities. Val finds it just as amusing as annoying, why hide human desire when it's so readily accessible.

He's just about to consider heading back up when a ghost appears at his side, the willowy apparition wearing that evening's indulgences on his breath. Jordans got that false confidence in his eyes, the kind that makes Val vaguely uncomfortable, alongside the glaze of a high passing onto its final stages. Val's no idiot, he's seen that look too many times not to know its meaning. Hell, he saw it every day in the mirror for so long it's practically ingrained.

The way desperation settles like a bottomless pit in his gut a memory all too well remembered. Almost, almost turning into a true itch. He'd be damned if that ever happened. No amount of remembered pleasures would take him back to those days. "Hey man, still willing to slip me some booze?" Jordan's smile is just as eery as his willingness to be social.

Valentine considers for a beat or two the possibility of letting the kid get fucked up.

Maybe see how long it takes him to swim back up from rock bottom. The kind of sadistic thoughts that Val usual keep under tight lock and key slipping out. He's just barely annoyed with the blonde, more annoyed at the way he stumbled in on fawns legs and expects nobody to know just what he's been up to. If Val had any guess there'd been a little more than booze on the menu for Jordan that night. He reeks of it.

Besides the problem it would present with Debbie is enough to keep him from being a complete asshole. And he doesn't exactly want to babysit when shit goes south.

"Maybe later, kid." Val's not the big brother type. He's strong and capable, but for his own sake. He's tried to be there for others, put himself out there in dead end friendships. In the end, what's he left with? Nothing. Nothing but the echo of resentment and a hollowed out piece of himself where that person once lived. Jordan wouldn't do well under his wings, but Val wouldn't contribute to his belly crawl over gravel either.

Val considers once more, retiring from the night before Max is suddenly, inexplicably clinging to him. Val is only minimally startled, the behavior unusual enough to dredge up panic from the edges of his mind. Already, a cold chill has swept up and down his spine. Max doesn't cling to Val like this unless shits really bad. It takes some coaxing to figure out just what the hells going on.

“Either I’ve finally lost my mind, or Greyson Ross is sitting at our bar.”

Belief erases doubt in a blinding instant as he sweeps his gaze to the bar and stares for an eternity. Body impossibly still other than the fine tremble that comes with aftershocks of containing the sudden, destructive rage trying to course its way through his entire being. He wants to stand up, march over there, and start tearing shit up. Debbie could murder him later, and if he got kicked out for causing a shit storm then so be it - but he'd be damned if he let Greyson - fucking - Ross show up out of the blue like an old friend who didn't up and leave without a word.

He can barely see past the red invading his vision, the steady, controlled breaths he's taking just short of breaking his own ribs. But Max is still clinging, gripping his hand in that desperate way that stops Val cold.

"You haven't lost your mind." Its through teeth clenched hard enough to feel like they're breaking that he speaks. "But I wish that were the case." God, did he wish that the man had been some fucked up, shared hallucination. But the reality of the situation is cruel, and the truth is, Grey is really there.

Val is careful when he untangles from Max, torn between staying there on the couch. In a safe bubble where nothing hurts so goddamn much as coming face to face with a ghost of his past. Grey's different now, it's so easy to see that it makes fresh rage tear him up inside. He doesn't go to him yet, but he doesn't take his eyes off of him either. Incapable of letting him out of his sight. Almost afraid that in the instant that he looks away Grey will disappear again, as if he had never been there in the first place.

He puts his free hand on Jordan's shoulder, trying to stay calm enough not to scare the kid. "Go get security, or Oliver - wait, fuck, no, just go entertain someone else." He doesn't want anyone stepping foot near Grey, least of all Oliver, who will no doubt take one look at him and try to adopt him once more. Thats just the kind of person Ollie is. Too soft for his own fucking good. Well fuck that, he's not letting Grey get off that easy. Not till he's had the time to rip apart whatever fucked up reasoning he has for coming back here.

Emotions numb him to the outside world, whether Max is still clinging to him or not, he can no longer tell. He isn't sure if its better for him to be there with Val or not.

"Greyson." Val can feel the monster rising, the ugly feelings twisting him up inside. So deep, it feels like nothing will ever be okay. "What the fuck do you think you're doing here?"




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: Isaac Lisiewicz Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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#, as written by Wiley
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Skittish Brunette, later found out to be named Charlie spent most of his time occupying Isaacs ear with nervous babble, and the rest of the time assuring Isaac that he didn't usually come to places like this. Isaac would have been amused, really, had he not found it so damn offensive. Theres nothing wrong with a little pleasure now and again. If ecstasy is a sin, then it is a sin he will indulge in again. But things slipped into an easy rhythm by the time Isaac ordered Charlie his third shot in a row, in a vain attempt to dull the motormouth he wore with an oddly misplaced pride. He can't stand it, the more he talks the more Isaac feels like driving tacks into his eyeballs just to have a reason to leave.

But maybe it isn't so much Charlie as it is the lingering losses and self-pity thats attached itself tooth and nail to his spine. Sending all the wrong signals to a brain already got from the ever-burning coals. He'd like to say its a little of one more than the other. The strange, unfathomable anger leaving a large hole for things to be desired. Charlie isn't too bad, not when his mouths stopped moving and his eyes fall heavy lidded with the grog. He seems happier this way, a fucked up sentiment that Isaac shares for the most part. Nothing like working through a steady buzz. He's smiling shyly despite the way his hand runs horizontal the path from Isaacs knee to hip. Frisky. If not a little too - well, little to fan Isaacs internal flames of desire.

He'd much rather fuck him and get it over with - if thats what Charlie even plans on doing. Which, at this rate seems less and less likely. Heavy petting isn't exactly his forte, and yet, its a pivotal part of the job description...Sometimes he loathes doing this, despite the pay and benefits of being surrounded by so much false love. He doesn't think he likes it so much as tolerates it. Besides, sometimes the conversation is great in the lounge. Unalike now, with Charlie practically dry humping him on the couch. He tries not to look too uncomfortable, if this is heading upstairs then so be it but he wouldn't be participating in any voyeuristic fetishes. Especially in the lounge where anybody could see them.

There were lines, and that was one that he did not cross. Charlie however seemed to have no care in the world for the people all around them.

"Shall we take this upstairs?" Isaac nudges the other away a bit, determined to get as much breathing room as possible. If anything, it seemed to worsen the situation. "No..." He could barely hear the other mumble.

He hadn't realized quite how drunken Charlie had become from three shots alone - of course the guy had to be a lightweight. Knowing that nothing good would come of this, Isaac looked up and scanned the crowd for either Felix or Elliot, knowing one or both would happen across his line of sight at some point. When Felix finally did, Isaac raised a hand to flag him down. Feeling a bit foolish as Charlie practically tried to glue himself to Isaac. Annoying, but understandable to a point. Some people just couldn't handle their drink.

"Problem?" Felix asks as he approaches. Isaac shakes his head, but points to Charlie anyways, "He's had too much, needs to get sobered up preferably somewhere alone." and away from me. Isaac didn't add, despite the truth of it. He found people like Charlie too exhausting to handle. Not his usual customer at all. Felix nodded in return, the issue clear to the both of them in that moment. For once, Isaac is glad to be the lesser capable person in this situation. Felix will take him somewhere to cool down, hopefully away from the boys in case he decides to start rubbing up on anyone else.

This night hasn't turned out so well for him, between the late start, the crap beginning with Charlie, and the continuing stream of customers leaving as the day approaches he's practically wasted his entire night. It sparks a hot coil of anger in his gut, until he remembers where he is and how monumentally bad of an idea that would be. No. He just needed to cool off and get settled in with another customer. Maybe someone who would actually pay him for an impromptu rub out on the lounge floor. God, did nobody have manners these days?

~*~

Through dumb luck and sheer skill using his words Isaac manages to at least get his shit together long enough to woo a pretty blond. While their ascent to the rooms upstairs had been short lived - he didn't think anyone could finish that fast to be honest, it must be a world record - he had at least made up for some of his lost poker money. The night had died down and the customers that had been swarming the lounge before had all cleared out. Isaac had only just come back downstairs when he caught sight of a grouping of his coworkers. Jordan....as well as Val and Max of course, when were they ever more than two feet from one another -

However this seemed different. Isaac had never seen Max touch Val like that. They were usually fighting, and being general nuisances but currently they were more wrapped up in each other than in anyone else. Isaac closed the distance, just as Val stood and told Jordan to scamper along. Isaac took the presented opportunity with grace, keeping one eye on Val as he proceeded to stalk to the bar. Looking far angrier than Isaac thought he could manage.

What the hell had pissed him off?

The source seems to be a customer. From the way Val shouts, Isaac easily gets the gist that whoever it was, they most definitely weren't welcome. Isaac had no time to entertain his curiosities though, he wants to pick the kids brain before he scampers off into the abyss.

"Hey man, whats that all about?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: Isaac Lisiewicz Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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#, as written by J.D.
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Good fortune does not live in the shadow of orphaned rich kids.

Jordan tries his damnedest not to feel offended, but inebriation soaks up the partial dismissal like a leech. "Maybe later, kid." Val says. Maybe. Later. Kid.

Something born of old resentments curls tight around his vocal cords. Strangling a slurred line of incoherent noise from the pit. Something along the lines of "Seriously?" and "Fuck you." conglomerated into one spectacle of a noise. Nothing against Valentine at all, nothing against Hales or its kin, nothing against anybody but his own hollowed self. Jordan would not be so forthright, so confident as to think he could say something like that to a guy with twice his toughness.

But this isn't Jordan right now. He left the shell long ago, when the booze and the - well, whatever he took - tore him limb from shaking limb. This is Samuel, he who bides his times scratching tally marks into stone, sitting at the very edge of consciousness even with sobriety leads him to lighter places. This is a rich kid demanding the dues that he is not owed. A memory of a boy unused to working for the very drugs that roast him alive.

Jordan hates, hates, hates when that ugly monster pops its head up. But right now, Jordan is floating far above the head-space of earth. Stuck in an orbit that will only end on the painful, messy comedown. He doesn't want that, never wants that, but it is as inevitable as it is life altering.

"Fucking what?" Jordan starts to spit, though its more a whisper than anything. So low, spoken more to himself than anyone else that he doubts anyone has heard it, let alone Val. "When the fuck is later?" He tries to question louder, feeding on his final reserves of Samuel to get the annoyance and rage across in his tone of voice. It is, however all for naught as by the time he's found his words, Val has already become encumbered by his shadow; Max.

Something about the familiarity of it all snaps Jordan back to himself, briefly, but with the purpose of curiously watching. What, exactly is going on. The air around their party of three has gone impossibly tense, in fact, Jordan is entirely too aware that he's practically third wheeling here. Anxiety creeps into the holes that his anger has left behind. Causing an inward curl as he watches Val become progressively angrier. When the other stands, and speaks to him once more - Jordan expects biting remarks and something a tad more angry than the stumbling half formed thoughts that tumble clearly from Vals lips.

"Go get security, or Oliver - wait, fuck, no, just go entertain someone else." Jordan must have missed the memo where Val became his authority figure. Seniority or not, Jordan can't fathom having a guy like him in any position of power - or, wait, no he most definitely can. And he is not blushing, not at all.

The seriousness of the request or demand (he isn't entirely too sure which.) Does not escape his notice. Theres something heated in Vals eyes, a darkness that makes Jordan want to run the other direction. And its all leading to some guy that Jordan does not know, but who sharply tugs at his curiosity. He doesn't know how long he stands there, observing from a distance, but he does know that he's spent far too long roaming the contours of the strangers body with his eyes. Focused, but quickly losing his attention span as the floaty feeling returns to him.

Nothing is so sobering as a fight breaking out in the lounge, and that looks entirely like whats going to happen. Jordan doesn't want to be around when it happens, he'd rather go up to his room and down the rest of what he's got in his pockets. No use letting the high slip away on a bad note.

"Hey man, whats that all about?" Isaacs voice beside him is startlingly clear, cutting through his sudden drift from reality. He doesn't remove his gaze from the bar, but rather, just barely inclines his head in greeting. Isaac is an enigma, terrifying in some ways but laughable in others. Jordan, on a normal day, with a clear conscious would steer clear of him. If only because of the sudden, violent rages that Isaac goes into. Its alarming, and Jordan is no fighter. But tonight, Isaac seems clear headed in all the ways that Jordan is not.

It takes him a moment to reply, thoughts scattering like dust in the wind every time he tries to piece them together.

"Some dude upset Max I think?" Jordan is fuzzy on it all, and also the sudden thought comes to him that its a bit odd that Valentine is defending Maxs honor or something. Like, those guys fight so much they may as well be a married couple - but he's never seen either of them really stand up for the other. "I dunno man," Jordan mumbles again, trying not to feel too useless for it. But of course, being incapable of giving a clear answer gives him that acute pain, just between his ribs where his need to please exists in a constantly painful stasis.

"Debbie's going to kick their asses." He says, lastly. Thoughts shifting to the woman that he should probably stay out of sight of. At least, until the effects of the nights party have been laid to rest. "I'm gonna find Oliver," He decides, forgetting that he's not supposed to do that. But Oliver might have a heart attack if those two get blood all over the lounge floor - it'd be bad for business - which is also something that Jordan is a bit afraid of happening. If not because Oliver makes up 1/3rd of this business and what would happen after he died? Nothing good. Nothing good at all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: Isaac Lisiewicz Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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#, as written by Ivisbo
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"I've seen cocaine bring out the demons inside
Cheating and lying
Friendship cease, no peace in the mind
Stealing and taking anything to fix the pieces inside
Broken, hopeless, headed nowhere
Only motivation for what the dealer's supplying"



Grey stayed where he was, mesmerized by the extreme reaction he’d managed to elicit from Max. Boy looked like he’d seen a ghost, the way his eyes went wide and his body rigid. He was fucking shakin', so visibly that Grey half wandered if he was having a mild seizure.

The way he latched on to Val brought back memories. Nights off, wasted at some bar with Max danglin' off one side whispering ridiculously dirty shit in his ear, Val trying real hard to pretend like he didn’t hear them cackling like drunk hyenas. Or when Grey came back from a vacation with a client and had to deal with Max koalaing at his side the rest of the night.

That was different from this, the whimpering fear vibrating from Max was a stark contrast from his uncontrollably loving self. Grey pitied Val as he untangled himself from the blonde, watched as he turned his attention to some strung-out rent boy next to him. While Val’s attention turned back to Max, Grey’s strayed down platinum blonde locks and pale skin. New, brand spankin’ new he’d guess, and the way his hazy blue eyes devoured Grey’s body from a distance let Grey how well the kid was adhering to Debbie’s ‘no drugs’ policy. Grey could almost purr with self satisfaction, half wanting to forget about the other two in favor of this new toy. He'd be so fucking easy to convince...

"Greyson" Greyson’s eyes had a hard time dragging away to land on Val, who’d apparently moved in the time Grey’d been distracted by the new meat. He smiled lazily, looking between Max’s wet-rag like form to Val’s ferocious eyes, amusement dancing across his face at the pure rage burning there "What the fuck do you think you're doing here?"

He’d loved fucking with Val every since he started at Hales. Back then it had been small pranks, just enough to get under Val’s skin but nothing bad enough that would have the other hating him. A game, he’d considered it, how far could he go before pushing him too far? Max had often joined in, cause
 well it was Max, the kid really had no off switch. Once upon a time Grey’d been able to convince him to do anything.

“Came back to check on old friends, wanted to make sure you guys survived without me” He pushed back on the counter, stepping towards them and discarding his drink for more favorable entertainment.

"Bullshit" Grey raised a brow at Val’s spitting reply, "If that’s the reason you're here then you can turn your ass right back around, we don’t need you here."

He wanted to laugh but held it back. Hale’s wasn’t a place that needed anyone- the motto was that if you wanted to be here, you could. If you needed Hales, it was here for you. While Grey didn’t exactly need the place, he sure as hell could do with a bit of Hales magic. That, and the constant stream of extremely susceptible costumers just just begging for a good time.

Behind Val, Max visibly jerked further away from view. Grey’d honestly never seen Max act this way and it was oddly empowering- he’d expect him to be in his face at any situation, but here he was cowering from this one. It had been a few years, but what Grey remembered of him wasn’t this.

“Jeez, Val, I can see you sincerely missed me. Maybe I’m not here for you?” He gestured at Max, though he couldn’t see much of him behind the overbearing angry trashcan “Alright back there, Max? Thought you’d at least be happy to see me”

Vals shirt pulled tighter across his chest as Max’s fingers dug in, his body barely visible until he slowly raised two watery eyes over Vals shoulder. Fuck, Grey tried so fucking hard to hold back his smirk, but he knew his lips twitched slightly. This was going to be easier then he thought, cause apparently he’d dug a hole deep enough that it had left a mark. Far as he could tell, he’d be able to work filling it back up for Max
 Val might be a different story.

"I thought you were dead." Max’s watery voice was barely audible and Grey tilted his head as he leaned forward. Course, Val wasn’t having any of that proximity and Grey respected the hint to keep his distance for now.

“Really think I’d go off and do something stupid like dying? Nah, I just got bored, wanted to try something new” He gave Max a wicked smile, “Missed you though, so I came back for my job. I seem to remember Oliver saying Hale’s had an open door policy if we ever wanted back in” Icy blue eyes moved to Val’s, that smile twisting his face even further, “And you can lay off. No drugs, I promise. I’m clean. Figured it out all on my own”

"No drugs," Val repeats, a mirthless laugh tearing out of him. "Should we just take your word on that, then? Pretend your promises aren’t fucking lies?"

Grey only shrugged in reply, not really caring whether Val believed him or not. It was a fucking lie of course, Grey was high right now, but it had been years since he started using. He didn’t even know who he was sober.

Max’s fidgeted behind Val, looking more like a cowering child then a full grown sex-worker. Grey wanted so bad for Val to fuck off and let him play with Max a bit, but he figured he’d have all the time in the world once he weaseled his way into a room upstairs. Max needed to settled down before Grey’d be able to get anything from him anyway.

“I’m not really here to prove myself to you, just need a fuckin’ job” He knew Val and Debbie were going to be his biggest issue, but they didn’t really matter. Oliver’d always had a soft spot for the fuck ups, and Grey just happened to fit that descriptions. Ever since he’d bailed him out at the hospital years ago, Ollie’d always come to his rescue.

On queue, Grey felt more then heard the pounding frantic footsteps of someone rushing down the stairs. He changed his posture almost instantly, leaning bodily against the bar and slumping his shoulders as Oliver came into view. Someone must have told him something, cause wild, frantic brown eyes flew across the room and landed on Grey, impossibly wide and impossibly worried.

“Oliver H-“ He managed a split second greeting before the shorter man slammed into him, shoving his body back against the bar and enveloping him in a hug so intense Grey was rocked for a second. It had been a while since he’d had contact with another person like this. Took him a second to react, to place fumbling tattoo covered arms around the older man. Grey’d properly expected Val and Max’s reactions, but this
. He exhaled, one of those intense sort of releases that was much more then just air.

Maybe he hadn’t been lying when he said he missed this place.

Oliver pulled back a moment later, hands on Grey’s shoulders to hold him at arms length. His soft brown eyes roamed, half appraising and half critical, lingering on the new tattoos and obviously searching for track marks. Finally they made their way back to his face and Oliver broke into a mesmerizingly warm smile.

“Like the new tattoos” He plucked up Grey’s shirt to reveal the fully inked front, “Guessing your fully covered now? Your skin must be worth a fortune”

Grey laughed, thankful he’d lightened the mood with a joke. They’d gathered numerous pairs of eyes across the room and Grey was still hoping to avoid a certain woman tonight, “Planning on skinning me for coming back?”

“We assumed you were dead you know, leaving like that” He said it in a joking tone, but Grey could see the seriousness in his eyes. Grey's eyes focused back to Max and Val briefly, but made sure to avoid looking too long, “Any reason in particular for this surprise reunion, or are you just stopping by to let us know our alive finally?”

Straight to the point then, but that wasn't that surprising. Oliver was glad he wasn't dead but probably not too excited to deal with the fallout. “I was hoping I could stay for a bit, get my old job back. Got my bag with me and everythin’” He gestured to the half full duffel, Oliver’s narrowing eyes following.

There was a pause, long enough that Grey briefly second-guessed himself. He’d missed something in the years he’d been gone, analyzed Oliver wrong, assumed he was worth more. Maybe he should have come during the day and done this properly
 he was still a little shaken by the ferocity of that hug and it was throwing him off.

“You know I have to check with Debbie and Spencer on your job, but you are always welcome to use the guest room till we figure it out. I’ll vouch for you for now” His eyes strayed back down Grey’s arms, still looking for puckered needle marks but not finding any. He was half disappointed Oliver thought he was stupid to let something like a needle ruin his tattoos and reputation.

“Oliver you cant just-“ Grey couldn’t see Oliver’s expression as he turned to Val, but it was enough to shut the other man up instantly. Max was wide eyed, looking slightly horrified, and Val looked like he couldn’t decide who to deck first.

“I said we will figure it out later. Its five am and we’re done for the night. Val, you get him a room, I’ll figure out getting this place shut down” Oliver focused back on Grey, a hand coming up to squeeze his shoulder, “I really am glad you aren’t dead. We can catch up later and you can fill me in on wherever the fuck you've been. Room for a story, got it?”

Grey nodded, and Oliver rushed off as fast he appeared. Oliver taken care of, his attention focused back on Val with a look of barely concealed smugness.

“So
 that room?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dalton Leigh Character Portrait: Emrys Von Nacht Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: David Shaw Character Portrait: Isaac Lisiewicz Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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"You haven't lost your mind."

Max supposed he should be relieved over the fact that he hadn’t drifted into having shockingly realistic visual hallucinations, but that wasn’t exactly what he’d call this feeling. Val’s dismissal meant Grey was actually there. Maybe Max wasn’t going crazy, but he was sure there was plenty of other stuff about to come his way that would rock his loose grip on sanity.

Val’s anger is so thick it’s almost a corporeal being and Max feels smothered by it but also safe in a twisted sort of way. Enough so that when Val goes to detangle from him, fear at being left alone grips his chest. He’s a toddler with separation anxiety that’s being forced to act like a big kid and he is not a fan.

Val says something to Jordan but Max can’t hear it. The words, the music, the chatter is all spinning into nothingness and he’s pretty sure he’s standing just on the edges of a panic attack. He hasn’t had one since he was a tween and it pisses him off that one guy can send him reeling like this.

Val gets up but he holds a hand back to Max probably subconsciously and the blonde clings to his arm like it’s his lifeline as he somehow makes it to his feet and shuffles to keep up. Across the lounge, back to the bar, back to the same spot he just ran away from. Grey gives a lazy smile to whatever greeting Val opens with and Sunday mornings. Late night car rides home. The pillow next to his.

Max is well aware he’s hiding. He’s just enough smaller than Val to keep out of sight behind him, a literal human shield. He can see over him just barely if he stands on his tiptoes, but he doesn’t want to. He wants this all to go away.

“Came back to check on old friends, wanted to make sure you guys survived without me.” Survived. Max wasn’t sure if that was what he’d call his Post-Grey era. The man’s complete and unexpected disappearance had done a real number on his psyche. Max had never handled death well. There’d been many nights spent in Grey’s bed until the scent had faded, many more spent in Val’s - either from a rare moment the older man caved to Max’s neediness, or a good, old fashioned, frustrated fuck. It’d been the only time during his life that he’d missed the drugs of his teenage years. The only time he’d been put on probation at work. He felt things too deeply. It’d been a problem.

Until eventually Val made him snap the fuck out of it and move on. ”He’s gone, Max. He’s not coming back.”

Yet here he was.

More than anything though, Grey speaking rocked Max back, because his voice snapped the audible world back into clarity. He tightened his hold on Val a little, wondered why he didn’t feel just as pissed. He didn’t know what he was feeling though. Surprise? Interest? He was just ...conflicted. Like he couldn’t decide if he was hurt or happy.

Old friends.

That didn’t feel good, and he cringed.

Grey was alive.

He was also a dick for doing what he’d done. And not the good kind of dick. An old, shriveled up, small, gray, too-hairy, disproportioned dick.

”Maybe I’m not here for you?” No, Max thinks, don’t do it, but Grey’s hand gestures towards him anyway. “Alright back there, Max? Thought you’d at least be happy to see me”

Max’s I am gets stuck in his throat and he remembers what it felt like that morning. Tumbling into Grey’s room, still hungover, with a smile on his face and a plan for greasy bacon and probably a blowjob. Only to find it empty. And the next morning, and the next, and the next.

No. This hurts, this definitely hurts. Grey disappeared without a trace. No letters, no phone calls, nothing. For three fucking years. How could he? Max grips Val tighter, like the man is the only thing keeping him from falling to pieces. Literally and figuratively. Because it feels like if he steps away from Val, he’ll forget everything. And that the only thing that will matter is that Grey’s alive.

“I thought you were dead.” His voice shakes and it’s only then that he realizes how close he is to fucking crying. Grey leans forward, but Val is like a brick wall between them, and Max has never been so damn thankful for Valentine Cervantes in his whole life.

“Really think I’d go off and do something stupid like dying? Nah, I just got bored, wanted to try something new”.

Bored. There was the anger finally, snapping up at him the way he saw it do Isaac all the time, but just before he could burst Grey’s smile was like cold water dumping over his head. 0-100 real fast, but Max faltered. “Missed you though.”

No one ever missed Max. He was like that annoying kid brother that people claimed to love but not ‘like’. The one that sent their older siblings running for college without a look back.The kind that moms posted about in secret groups online, questioning their decision to have more than one child. He knew this. He was aware of this. He shouldn’t let Grey make him feel special because it simply wasn’t true. ”- so I came back for my job. I seem to remember Oliver saying Hale’s had an open door policy if we ever wanted back in” That was true. That was true and it made him feel sick. “And you can lay off. No drugs, I promise. I’m clean. Figured it out all on my own”

Max tilted his head up towards Val, but unsurprisingly the brunette wasn’t buying a word of this, which reminded him that he didn’t need to be either. Bullshit. It was all bullshit. And Open-Door Policy or no, there was absolutely no way the Hale’s would let Grey back in. No way.

As if the universe had a sense of humor, Oliver Hale flew down those same stairs Max himself had appeared on just moments ago. His eyes were wide and worried and then he just... Barreled into Grey’s arms. Like a father seeing his druggie son for the first time in years. Which, undoubtedly, Ollie saw himself as. He was the caretaker for all the wayward boys. He loved them.

He loved Grey.

Max tore his eyes from the little reunion because he couldn’t bare to watch it. Instead he glanced at the bar, and wondered for the first time where the fuck Debbie was. Then he seemed to remember the time. She was out front, helping too-drunk men into their cabs. For the first time she wasn’t arms length away, and he blamed her a little for whatever was about to happen. Because they needed her, here and now.

Grey laughed.

Max closed his eyes tightly against the memories and buried his face into Val’s back. He couldn’t deal with this. Why had he come back tonight? Why hadn’t he stayed with Sebastian for just one more day?

”you are always welcome to use the guest room till we figure it out. I’ll vouch for you for now”. Max looks up again out of shock because seriously? At this point he was surprised he wasn’t fucking floating because it seemed like the world had dropped out from under him for good.

He’s too shocked to say anything but Val isn’t, and he’s nodding along until Oliver turns around. They so rarely get scolded, beyond the slight slap on the wrist for their fighting, but Oliver’s face then is enough to shut Val up and make Max want to take a step back again. He doesn’t even have to say anything and Max feels like he’s in trouble.

He didn’t fucking do anything wrong! He feels angry and scattered and betrayed. And as Oliver leaves, Max’s heart sinks.

He wants to run, which isn’t something he’s felt since he was fourteen and itchy to get out from under his grandparents and his therapy bills. He wants to push himself until he can’t go any farther and then pass out and not have to deal with anything ever again.

Val’s saddled with getting Grey the room and Max shakes his head a little, because Val’s either going to kill him or fuck him, and either are probably an option right until the winning blow is upon him. No matter how much Max wants to drown himself in a bathtub full of vodka, he can’t make himself leave. He’s rooted in his spot next to Val, and silently he slides his hand down to tangle their fingers together again. He’s not letting go until Val cuts him off at the goddamn wrist.

His sanity is on a string.

“Come on,” he mutters softly, giving Val a tug. He can see Oliver sending the other boys upstairs. Dalton, Isaac, David. The bartenders and security will stay, clean up. Where’s Em? Still in the rent rooms maybe? Jordan...

Max turns towards the Lounge doorway, and there’s the blonde, undoubtedly the source of Oliver’s oh so perfect appearance. Traitor Max thinks, but it’s not like Jordan knew any better.

Walking out feels a little like walking into hell.

And he’s not sure if he’s excited or afraid.

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Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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Image“You know I have to check with Debbie and Spencer on your job, but you are always welcome to use the guest room till we figure it out. I’ll vouch for you for now”

F u c k.


Anger has long past fled from the situation altogether. Now, it's a subtle shake that keeps his hands firmly tucked at each side. Balled up so tight his fingernails gouge his palms. Interrupted for only a moment as Max winds their hands together, either to stay his own anxieties or to calm Val down before he decided to disregard Oliver altogether.

There are too many emotions being dredged up from the underbelly of his memory. The nearly opaque, inconsistent thoughts that keep painting over the anger. To momentarily blind him before common sense takes hold again and shows the transparent image of a ghost before him. A memory that should have stayed dead.

Guilt trips him up for a moment. Maybe not dead. Maybe just far, far away from Hales. From them. From the blonde at his side practically molded like glue to him. From himself, the impulse to start throwing punches manifesting as a deeply uncomfortable stone in his gut.

He'd regret it just as soon as he finished, Oliver may be an idiot but Val respects him enough to realize that this isn't his decision. Even if by siding with Greyson he's doing more harm to them than good. Max alone could shatter at any moment. Val wouldn't let that happen. Bound and determined to destroy the threat encroaching on his territory. Worse than a guard dog, snapping at an intruder. Hackles raised and ready to fucking go.

He steels himself against the torrential downpour of insults that beg to pour from his throat. Words designed to hurt on a superficial level, unwilling to cut deeper in fear of memories leaking out. He won't forgive Greyson for disappearing out of the blue.

He won't.

No matter how fucking badly some small part of him wants to.

Goddamn, this sentimental bullshit. Because in the end, Greyson's still an old friend. The truth is raw and cuts like broken glass. And the more he avoids the thought the more he wants to scream and fight his way out of this.

If ever there was a moment to say the world is a cruel, shithole, then this would be that moment.

“Come on,” Max speaks at his side, so soft that Val almost doesn't hear him through the rush of blood in his ears. In an instant, every horrible feeling fades. He squeezes Max's hand and realizes that it's better to just get this shit over with before he ends up driving himself to the brink of insanity. He gives Greyson one last cold look before jerking his head towards the stairs. He'd show the bastard to his room, but that didn't mean he needed to make small talk.

"You don't have to tag along," Val mumbles to Max, ignoring the current bane of his existence entirely. He doesn't want Max to feel obligated to babysit him. Not while the blonde's own sanity is at stake. Besides, in a way, he feels territorial. His own hold on the situation thin and fraying by the second.

But Max doesn't leave his side as they head up, each step adding to the weight dragging Val down. He's so tired. He wants to sleep for the rest of the week and hopefully when he wakes up this will all have been a shitty dream.

He huffs a laugh under his breath.

Of course, this wouldn't go away that easily.

Its odd seeing a room so empty, most of the boys rooms are heavily decorated to their own tastes. Vals own a chaotic mess, with a color scheme that looks like a punk rainbow has thrown up all over the place. This one is bare. Depressingly so. Val turns to Greyson, acknowledging him for the first time.

There's no spite to his words this time, he's conserving his energy for the next round of rage to kick up.

"I assume you still know where everything is." Why wouldn't he, it's not like the place had changed that much in the past few years. Still, Val isn't going to help him anymore than he has. He's shown him the room, he's done his duty. Now, he just wants to go punch a hole in his wall and be done with this shitty day. Maybe drown in a bottle of vodka.

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Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: Isaac Lisiewicz Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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#, as written by J.D.
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By the time he's standing within a feet of Oliver he's already forgotten that Val asked him not to. Memory shot, an effect of too long spent with his head underwater. Drowning out the brain cells that he doesn't use anyways. All at once, the nerves get to him. He's not used to Oliver, not in the way that he's used to Debbie. He almost forgets what he's doing there altogether.

"Jordan?" Oliver prompts, as if they had been holding a conversation - and maybe they had been. Theres something like delight in the mans voice, and Jordan assumes its due to the fact that this is one of a handful of times they've ever talked face to face, without the buffer of the other boys between them. Jordan needs to reign in those stray side effects before they get out of hand, can't be outwardly showing his hands, not with the threat of his toys being taken away.

Jordan shakes from his thoughts before the silence can stretch out into concern. Its dangerous, this line he's standing on. A tightrope over the gaping maw of a canyon. Any moment he could fall, shattering into shards of glass at the bottom. "Oh uh," Jordan stumbles over his tongue, whats he to say anyhow. Theres some weirdo, make him leave. Sounds childish in a way, too much like a fear of nothing at all. But really, what more is there to expect from a neurotic mess.

"Val said to come get you?" He didn't, but Jordan doesn't remember that bit of the speech. It had been too many words strung together, leaking into an incoherent head. "Theres some guy - " Oliver is already standing, but he doesn't look overly concerned yet. Jordan reels in the desperate need to stumble away, out of arms reach. "Anything more specific?" Oliver teases, in good nature, but it makes the fluttering of anxiety spark in Jordan. His stance widens, defensive.

"Tall, Tattoo'd, intense." Jordan shrugs, chewing on his lip. The more he spoke the more interested Oliver looked. "Looked like Val was gonna pick a fight." He doesn't know him personally enough to say for sure, but it seemed that way at least. "Probably should have led with that kiddo," Oliver doesn't quite drop the smile but theres a sharper look to his face now, and Jordan knows that isn't his fault but it still feels that way. He's the one who delivered the news after all.

"By the bar," Jordan mutters but he's already on his way, clapping a hand on Jordans shoulder as he goes. And Jordan for the life of him does not let himself follow, wants nothing to do with whatever the hell is going on out there. But he does linger, even as guests trickle out in a steady stream and his coworkers begin to file their way up the stairs. Back to the penthouse for a rest before the next nights activities can resume. He waits until he knows that he can't anymore.

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Greyson Ross

“Wake up, cold sweat, scratching, itching
Trying to escape the skin that barely fit him.”


The smoke from his joint sent a plume out the window that mimicked the never-ending greyness above. It was dawn, the first light of day illuminating the scattering of snow across this ruined portion of the city. The nightlife had settled only an hour ago, leaving a discomforting stillness across a usually tumultuous neighborhood.

He wasn’t sure at what point it had snowed, he’d been nose deep in his own white powder as soon as he’d shut the door on Max and Val. He’d immediately needed to slip into the haze of drug and memory- his back against the musky box spring and head collapsed against the old mattress. There was a crack running across the ceiling that had descended along the wall and he was having a hard time remembering if it had existed when he was a resident of this room. All that was left was his bed and an old overturned box. He’d abandoned everything when he’d left three years ago, but obviously someone had not wanted his things lingering. There had been posters and photos on the wall that he could tell had been ripped down- scraps of color were still tacked up by pushpins. Everything had a layer of dust, so he knew that Hale’s didn’t even use this as a guest room
 the abandoned space amongst a house filled with life sent a creeping shiver down his back. He'd assumed himself forgotten, but there was still a dusty space left for him here.

With thoughts still circling that crack creeping along the ceiling, he rose from his prone position as the sun pulled itself above the silhouetted buildings and ended up on the windowsill. Joint smoldering in hand, bare back and feet locking him against the molding wood, a position that was once so habitual to him he had moved without thinking.

Val had been quick to deposit him in this vacant space, so clearly provoked by his appearance and irritated by Oliver’s immediate acceptance. “I assume you still know where everything is”. Pissy for sure, Val’s voice had been calm but edged with a sort of malice Grey had once attempted to avoid. But he now found that contempt interested
 and felt the need to see how far he could push the man before he lost this summoned control. Maybe a bad idea, in retrospect, as he needed the least amount of resistance on his return.

He probably should have just shut the door, but Val's anger had begged him to push just a tad further, “I mean” He’d sent a pitying look at the musky room and faked a cough, “It's pretty sad looking in there. And since they’re closing up downstairs, you two have nowhere else to be? I definitely still know where your rooms are”

"We have plenty of places to be, all of which are not here, with you. And If you show up at either if our rooms I’ll gut you" Val hadn’t even finished his sentence before Grey had shifted enough that he could see Max’s hidden form.

Max had always been easy for Grey. He was like a golden retriever- at some point he traded brain cells for pure excited friendliness. Their first meeting Grey had found him amusing instead of annoying
 and that was really all Max needed. Most people (Val included) could handle tiny doses of this kid, but Grey found that naivety and pliability intoxicating. So he kept him around, sought out his attention- and he might have been the first person to ever to that for Max.

Grey exhaled smoke out the window and pictured Max's quivering form, barely hidden behind Val but momentarily safe from Greys icy eyes. Max was refusing to meet his gaze- he probably knew he couldn’t handle it. So Grey had settled for a small, gentle smile...a look that had earned him unwavering devotion three years ago.

<b>”Ah, no
 but he’s right”</b>. Max’s voice had been a shaking mess, his tone tight as he tried to hide his discomfort. Grey'd decided to take pity on him- he'd needed another fix anyway and Val’s glare was threatening to set the hallway on fire.

“Well sleep tight boys. I’ll see you guys for pancakes in the morning” He'd managed to catch Max’s eyes with that comment, a little light flickering in there from their old routine. That was really all Grey needed to reaffirm how easy this would be.

God damn.

ImageHis joint was almost burning his fingertips by the time he stubbed it out and closed the window. The room was cold, a chilly sort of cold that only came from these snow-covered mornings. He pulled a sweatshirt out of his bag and kept the hood over his head before exiting for the warmth of the hallway.

The house was dead, the nocturnal routine of Hale’s ensuring that the early morning hours were reserved for returning sex workers and dead-to-the-world drunks. He assumed it was around 7 or 8am, but time seemed to slip away from him here.

Val was right. He knew where everything is, so much so that the Bisquik was still in the same place in the kitchen. Pans, measuring cups, spatula- everything still in its rightful spot, like Hales had stood still while he was gone. The only thing missing was maple syrup... and Grey had to convince himself that the missing ingredient wasn’t intentional. The syrup had been a <i>thing</i> back in the day and after seeing Max’s reaction, Grey was beginning to see that his ghost was a taboo subject here.

He made a stack, overloading a plate to fulfill their old ritual. The kitchen was a warm, buttery, pancake filled glow and Grey couldn’t help but feel a little sense of ‘home’. He usually wasn’t awake for this kind of breakfast anymore and rarely cooked for himself, choosing to either order in or skip eating entirely. This was all for appearances- to soothe the grumbling Hale house at his return. Grey was only slightly annoyed to find he was also comforted by the meal.

Pancakes safe in a warming-up oven for the rest of the house, he took his over to the table. A few beer cans and ash tray lay out on a table that looked sticky to the touch. Grey ignored it, avoided putting his elbows on the dirty surface, and pulled another joint out of his pocket.

The house was still as he ate slightly, cindering weed in one hand and fork in the other. Grey anticipated someone would rise early- none of the routines here were ever entirely synchronized- he was damn excited to see who it would be. Maybe that little white-haired fuckable thing he’d seen eyeing him like the last drop of water last night? Hopefully, it wouldn’t bee the Queen Bitch, as he needed a little more coke in his system before he dealt with her. Oliver would be easy... but he was really hoping he'd hear the hurried footsteps of his old golden shadow. The pancakes were really for him, and Val, and appeasement for the years gone. He knew it would take more then that to eradicate the shadow of his ghost, but it was a start. He certainly didn't need curious eyes following his every move once he started pushing.

Max would be a fun addition to an already nostalgic morning and Grey decided that if he didn't show up soon, he'd have to bring a few pancakes to his room.

Grey took a drag, smiled, and exhaled, mingling the striking smell of marijuana with the warmth of the pancakes.

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Character Portrait: Max Evans Character Portrait: Valentine Cervantes Character Portrait: Samuel Jordan Foxworthy Character Portrait: Greyson Ross
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Max doesn’t sleep.

He could blame it on the A.D.D, if he doesn’t take his meds there’s no reason for his brain to shut down. He could rationalize it that way. It’s his head, not his heart. But it’s a lie, because his heart is broken and he’s staring at the shattered pieces trying to remember how to put them back together again.

His window frame was broken once. Would just fall down if he tried to put it up. Max had said he’d call a handyman but Grey had told him not to worry, he’d fix it. He couldn’t, he’d eventually just nailed the damn thing shut. Max had been upset as hell but hadn’t ever had the time to change it. After Grey had left, he’d admitted it was going to stay that way.

There’s a poster in the corner of the room that isn’t his. It’s buried under others that are, but that one is torn at the top. On the back of it, he and Grey had played about five hundred rounds of tic-tac-toe while they were both a few joints in. (The only drug that got through Debbie’s policy was marijuana. Most of them agreed it shouldn’t be illegal anyway.)

There’s a pillow case that was Grey’s tucked under his mattress, a pair of socks hidden away in his drawer, a book on his shelf that he’s not even sure Grey ever read that was stuffed with his photos, and a motorcycle helmet balancing on his desk. Grey’s voice swims through his mind, clear as day, “you'd look good on it, try it out".

Snippets of a life he’d once had. Pieces that he’d stolen when it had all come crashing down. He remembered destroying Grey’s room with Val. Taking it apart piece by piece until it resembled nothing of the man that had once occupied it. Because it was too hard to leave it that way. Like Grey was coming back.

It’s snowing outside. Max loves the snow.

He turns his back on the window and pulls his covers over his head. His bed is soft as fuck, he really splurged on it once he started making good money. But when he buries his nose in the sheets it just smells like him. And he resents the fact that he suddenly misses months of being buried in Grey’s bed. Of soaking up that scent until it was gone.

He should have slept with Val. He should have begged and pleaded not to be left alone. Max was never good with being alone.

He throws the blankets off and pulls himself out of bed, doesn’t bother to put a shirt on or change out of his pajama pants, just runs his fingers through his hair a few times. It’s fucking early, eight in the morning. Most of the house would still be sleeping, morning was a deadzone for people who worked the night. But Max can’t sleep, and there’s video games in the livingroom.

He wishes Isaac were up, so maybe he could pick a fight. Get some other emotion rolling through his body to replace this shit that hurtshurtshurts. He’d even take Jordan’s company. They weren’t really close, but Max would damn near pay to look into blue eyes that didn’t hold him in a vice grip. That didn’t rip him bare to his soul and take fucking control of it.

He needed Val. But Val had a meter of energy he could allot to Max at any given time and with Grey back in the picture, back in their house, back in their lives, Max knew better than to waste that energy. He’d save it until he couldn’t stand without it.

He remembered Grey’s smile just hours ago. Small, gentle, the same even on a face that had a sharper jawline than in his memories. Grey had never found him annoying. Had never run out of energy to give him. Max closed his eyes tightly and rested his forehead against his door, his hand resting on the curve of the knob. His chest was tight and his bones were heavy. It’d been three long years since he hadn’t felt like living.

He takes a deep breath and reminds himself that he can sneak downstairs and get some whiskey. Drink himself silly before any of the staff members realize what he’s done. Before he has to come back and share with the others. Maybe if he gets just drunk enough, he can pretend like he’s okay.

He opens his door and pushes himself out into a living space as quiet as he’d expected, but blood rushes through his ears when only three steps in he realizes what he’s smelling. Pancakes. He’d hardly thought Grey was serious, much less that he’d be awake this early.

Max isn’t sure if it’s curiosity or masochism that draws him towards the kitchen but the fact of the matter is that one is just as deadly as the other. He finds Grey at the table, occupying a seat that had long ago stopped being his, joint in one hand, fork in the other, stack of pancakes in front of him. The nostalgia hits Max in the stomach like a cannonball to a pile of bricks. Autopilot says he should be bouncing on his toes, pushing himself into the space between Grey and the table to balance on his lap, a ‘good morning’ in the form of a shotgun kiss that tastes like maple syrup.

Maple syrup. They don’t have any. Max had thrown it out the goddamn window, and no one had had the balls to buy more since. “Let’s literally go fuck right now, after we eat. Or here. During breakfast. Maple syrups gotta be a kink somehow.” Val had been so frustrated, Grey had been so amused. Max had been


Sweet tasting shotgun kisses were a thing of the past, and Grey’s lap was no longer a place Max should want to occupy. He should have stayed in his room. He should have asked Val to let him stay with him. But he’s in too deep now.

“That pancake mix isn’t yours,” he mutters as he drifts into the kitchen, back tense and hands shaking. They used to all three sit on that end of the table. Max had carved their initials on the underside of it once, after the first time they’d all had a good night. He was pretty sure it was still there.

Max fucking loves pancakes, and he hovers over the pile staying warm, wondering what kind of hell he’d put himself through if he chose to take one. He could, and just go back to his room, shut the door, lock it.

He thinks it says something about how much he hates himself that he grabs a plate and fills it up before heading to the table. He sits as far from Grey as he can get, puts his feet on the edge of his seat, knees pressed against wood. Distance is good, he thinks, but the downside is that from here he can see Grey. It’s not the low lighting of the bar or the shadows of a darkened bedroom. It’s morning light, and Grey is just as handsome as he ever had been. When Max had known him, he’d been smaller, softer around the edges, only his arms covered in tattoos. But even with a sweatshirt on, Max could see the additions to his bulk, to the ink that covered his entire neck, to the sharper definitions in his face, the longer hair.

Max jerks his gaze away before he gets caught in those goddamn eyes and shoves a pancake in his mouth.

He’d thought Grey was dead. With every fiber of his being. He’d watched the news for almost a year, waiting for his body to be found. He never imagined he’d be sitting here, across from him, again. He never imagined that his heart would be so weak that he would want to, while his brain was telling him to run.