In The Concrete Jungle

New York, NY

a part of In The Concrete Jungle, by Collapse.

None

Collapse holds sovereignty over New York, NY, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
1,160 readers have been here.
1,992 readers have visited this universe since Collapse created it.

Setting

Default Location for In The Concrete Jungle

Minimap

New York, NY is a part of In The Concrete Jungle.

17 Characters Here

Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart [38] "I think there's a flaw in my code."
Roman Killens [29] The Intellect
Colton King [23] "When in doubt, drink a beer."
Oliver Mitchell [10] The Failure

Start Character Here »


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens

0.00 INK

Image

He had been training his attention on a small part of the wall when Isaac came over. At first he wasn't sure if he'd actually heard anything, and so his response was delayed when he finally turned to see Isaac standing near him. He looked down to the book in his hand. Good choice. Roman had almost forgot that Isaac, or even Colton really, was in the basement. It would seem that much of the noise in the basement came from the girls; the boys tended to be more relaxed and quiet, which Roman was appreciative for. He didn't mind sharing a space with others so long as it was relatively easy to forget they existed in the first place. Isaac wasn't very loud himself and seemed to enjoy his own company which was why Killens was slightly taken aback by him coming over. They'd spoken before, but that could be said about everyone in the basement. And, like mostly everyone, he didn't really know the guy that well. The most involved interaction he'd ever had with Isaac occurred over the summer when he went to him for pills. Knowing he was pretty fucked up himself in that aspect, Roman supposed his luck couldn't be too bad in asking since Nick was no longer an option. It was awkward enough for him to even have to go to a near stranger for help, so he hadn't repeated the act since then.

Killens watched him with a slight raise of the brow as he began wondering what Isaac wanted. Although he made it a point for no one in the basement to know the extent of his past, that included his 'intellectual gift' for lack of a better term, he was completely stupid to Isaac's feelings towards him. This could be partly explained in Roman's own degree of conceitedness but just as it was hard for people to read him, sometimes he had difficulty reading other people. Of course, 'difficulty' was really just a nicer way of saying lack of interest. When Isaac finally mentioned why he came over, Killens wasn't quite prepared for what to do. He looked at him for a hard second as he wasn't entirely sure what the fuck he was talking about. "Oh," he said when he finally understood, remembering back to their exchange a few months back. Roman sat up and looked over to Colton instinctively, wanting to make sure no one else was around to hear. It wasn't so much that he was embarrassed really, but he didn't want people in his business.

His stash wasn't low just yet, by the grace of God. He really didn't need anymore but he convinced himself that he did. What he had had gotten him sick (he chose to ignore the fact that he was overseeing his misuse of the drugs), and not only that, but the cooler weather was making him ache more. Isaac probably had something stronger since there was no telling what else the kid could get a hold of. He told himself that he deserved this. It wasn't a problem if he was just trying to take care of himself, and Isaac was offering. But then he remembered reality and in reality he barely had enough money to last him until his next unscheduled fight. Killens sat up with a groan that was more due to his body's reaction to the movement and less due to Isaac. "Look," he said as he sipped on the sprite that was barely half gone. "If you're looking for quick money, so am I. I'd be indulging us both if I said yes, but I'm broke."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens

0.00 INK

Image
__________________________________________________________





ImageSometimes talking to Roman was anxiety inducing, because he was never sure what he was going to get back. Or what stupid thing would come out of his mouth. Isaac was definitely the kind of idiot that would ask someone for the time only to be wearing a watch, because he had no game. It wasn't like it should matter or anything. Wasn't even like Isaac was trying to flirt...in fact, he spent their what - total of four, maybe, conversations being very aware of doing the exact opposite of flirting. Didn't matter much though. Talking to him still made Isaac's stomach tie up in knots.

But god that face, and that one raised eyebrow, and that unwavering attention as Killens tried to sort out the words that came out of Isaac's mouth and how exactly they applied to him. Isaac really should have stayed on his side of the room, where those wonderfully blue eyes weren't focused on him for entirely too long.

He was about to open his mouth again, to be more specific, when Roman finally got it. Isaac just smiled slightly and directed his gaze down at his book, because that was easier. It was a weird topic, and Isaac knew little about Killens, but he also knew that was because Roman wanted it that way. He was a private person, and Isaac got that, so he'd used the kind of vague wording on purpose.

Killens groaning was something Isaac really should enjoy, but it wasn't a good sound. It was a 'my body aches and it sucks' sound, which made sense, given Roman's career choices. His own eyebrow arched this time when the man finally spoke and Isaac just shook his head. "Nah, I'm solid in the cash department."

It actually wasn't a complete lie. He had enough money he wasn't worried about eating, and he had a pretty decent stash built up. Isaac liked having money, and was often very productive high, so he usually had a good handful of it from odd jobs. And nine times out of ten, if sex was on the table, Isaac could manage to score a free meal or his own free drugs at least twice a week. Just depended. "I honestly just have more than I can handle. Besides, I told you last time, I'm not a dealer, I'm not looking for money. Sharing is caring, Killens, that's all I'm doing."

That was a partial lie. Isaac wasn't a dealer, so he didn't sell product ever. That was a dangerous business and when one has a tendency to snort up his own product, best to stay away. He also didn't exactly 'share' with anyone else. He might give Kiara a bump on occasion if he asked, but Killens stuff...that stuff he went out of his way for. Because he was pathetic. And couldn't stop himself. He'd probably get anything Roman asked for, honestly. He didn't even care.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Writer
Image
Image
Brooklyn and Holly didn't get more than a few feet away from the makeup section when Cara found them, and asked Holly about getting a toothbrush. It was likely an attempt to redirect her from her sudden vest obsession, or to get her away from Brooklyn for a moment, and either way, it worked. "Yes, I want a new one!" she exclaimed quickly. She didn't necessarily need a new one, considering that Lateefah was pretty good at making sure she had all of her basic necessities, but when did Holly not just want something for the sake of having something new? Even if it was as trivial as a toothbrush, it sparked her attention, and she wanted it. Without waiting for Cara to direct her to the correct aisle, she spun around, but didn't make it more than a step before pausing to hear what Brooklyn had to say. The first sentence was nice. Holly would get one for Lateefah, and one for Kiara too, because she was sure that would make them happy, but then Brooklyn continued, and Holly spun back around with furrowed eyebrows. "That's not true!" she declared, though her eyes were focused on Cara instead of Brooklyn, who had been the one to make the offensive remark. She wanted Cara to confirm that that wasn't true, and that what Brooklyn had said about her sister was simply slander.

At sixteen, Holly probably should have been more comfortable with sexual topics and even just general, PG-13 related ones, but she wasn't. Living in the basement for a year introduced her to a lot of things, and yet, she still lived in her bubble. She still thought that smoking and drinking were bad, that Isaac needed to learn how to say no to drugs, and that Brooklyn should only be a dancer if she was dancing ballet. She was definitely mentally delayed to an extent where she couldn't help it, but a part of it could easily be attributed to what she went through as a child. It was a self-defense mechanism in a way. After years of sexual abuse, she shut down. She didn't want to hear about bad things, and she constantly sought reassurance that those monsters didn't really exist. For her, sex was one of the biggest monsters, and understandably so. Depending on what she was reacting to, her reactions were sometimes worse than how she reacted to any mention of school. At this point, she had gotten used to people kissing and hugging. She, herself, was clearly a very physical person, but she liked to see that everything was very consensual. Nick and Brooklyn kissing was okay if Brooklyn wasn't pulling away, and she could handle Isaac and Kiara hugging playfully if they were laughing. When she had been living with Lateefah and her boyfriend, things weren't even that good, though. Holly had a tendency to call for Lateefah in the middle of the night, from another room in the apartment if she even thought that she heard the bed creak in a manner that was abnormal for sleeping people. Kissing and hugging were one thing, but anything farther than that still stood to be a trigger for her, even if it wasn't happening to her.

Brooklyn was unphased because that was a typical level of offensiveness in one of her comments, but this one bothered Holly more than the ones about Tee usually did. So, she didn't cling to the brunette's side as she headed for the checkout, and instead, remained by Cara's side as they followed. "I don't need a new toothbrush, actually, and neither does Tee either, because her mouth is always clean. She doesn't even have a boyfriend, Car."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

ImageImage Image
Image
Cara truly didn't know how Brooklyn and Lateefah had both managed to reside in the basement for the three months that she was gone. She knew that the girls had co-existed for a few months before she had gotten there too, and there survival then was a mystery too. She really just didn't understand how it was possible for Brooklyn to have not overstepped her boundary on the wrong day and Tee finally snapping, or Tee firing back a threat and Brooklyn daring her to fulfill it. The two could easily kill each other, and she was sure that the fight would end with more blood and hair on the floor than if any of the much larger and stronger guys in the basement fought. It was times like this, where Cara felt like her alliance in the whole thing should be more on Lateefah's side. She knew that Brooklyn just lacked a filter and that she said things like this to get a rise out of other people, but sometimes it was just too insensitive to want to excuse. Cara didn't even know about Holly's history with abuse and she cringed as Brooklyn claimed that Lateefah was a whore. It was just as bad of her to say about Kiara, especially considering that Kiara actually worked as a prostitute for a living, but it was different when Holly was standing right here. Like a child of their parent, Holly seemed to thing of Lateefah as being perfect, and it wasn't right for Brooklyn to constantly try to ruin that idea in her mind. This was different than her saying that Tee was a bitch, or that she was broke, or was lying about having went to Columbia. It wasn't completely out of the realm of many of Brooklyn's comments, but Cara quickly noticed that it bothered Holly, so it made it seem worse.

"I'm sure she doesn't," Cara agreed, not in an attempt to insult Lateefah, because she was sure that a girl with her looks and brains could easily snatch up a pretty decent guy, but just in an attempt to comfort Holly. To try to get her to brush over this without replacing the vest-craze with this. "We don't need to get toothbrushes, then. Why don't you pick out a piece of candy or a magazine or something when it's our turn to pay?" she suggested as they followed Brooklyn through an aisle and towards the registers. She placed a hand on Holly's back and allowed her to walk ahead, when a couple in the aisle forced them to walk in single. "And just remember that Brooklyn's always being silly, you know that. She just thinks she's being funny, so don't let it bother you," she added, almost hoping that it was loud enough for Brooklyn to hear. She really did not need this comment getting back to Lateefah. It would be just her luck that the cat fight of the century would break out the day that she got back.

The suggestion that she get candy instead of a toothbrush undeniably lifted Holly's mood. She was still bothered and definitely unsure about whether she wanted to hang out with Brooklyn, since she seemed to be in one of her mean moods, but candy sounded good. Candy definitely sounded good. So good, that she considered pushing past a group of people who were crowding the front of the aisle. Cara placed a hand on her back before she could, and tried to reassure her that Brooklyn was just joking. Holly normally would have accepted that as an answer and moved on, but again, what Brooke had said irked her more than most comments. Cara's simple excuse wasn't enough to change her back into her perky self, but she nodded, just as a way to end that interaction when she spotted a bag of Skittles in front of the cash register that they were being waved over to. "Do you want Skittles too?" she asked Cara, as she placed her bag on the counter.

Cara didn't know if Holly was really good, or just distracted for the moment, but she would take what she got. She watched as Brooklyn headed towards one cash register, almost surprised that the brunette didn't try to toss her items in with hers, before following Holly to the next open one. "No thanks," she responded as she emptied her basket onto the counter.

"You like Kit-Kats. I remember that. Do you want one of those?" Holly asked, after Cara, for some reason unknown to her, rejected the Skittles. She had already reached the candy bar by the time she finished talking, and held it towards Cara.

Cara wasn't in the mood for candy, but it seemed like accepting what Holly had and paying for it would be easier than having the girl search the rack for a piece of candy that she did want. "Sure, Holl. Thanks," she said, with a bit of faked gratitude as she took the chocolate bar and placed it on the counter. She didn't wait for the cashier to read off the owed amount, because Cara didn't want to hear it. She didn't want Holly asking what she had purchased for fifty dollars and change, and she didn't want her miraculously remembering that number and repeating it later in front of the others. Cara knew that she was probably being paranoid and maybe even a bit self-important by thinking that everyone else cared that much about her situation, but she didn't want people to think that she was some spoiled, dependent brat. She knew that it was probably obvious that she wasn't quite as financially desperate as they were, but she didn't want to be obnoxious about it. She needed to be down there just as much as them, she reminded herself.

"Here, you can have a handful of these, but then we need to get something real to eat. I don't want you to fill up on candy, since I know you didn't eat your dinner with Tee." After they had moved away from the register, she paused in her plight towards Brooklyn, who stood just outside of the door, to open Holly's bag of Skittles and pour a few into her hand. She did want to follow through to her promise to Lateefah that she would try to get Holly to eat something real, but she also didn't want the girl getting a sugar rush by downing the bag of candy in seconds.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens

0.00 INK

Image
Image

Despite being an emotionally inexpressive person, when it came to some things, it was apparent--sometimes too apparent--what he was thinking. This mostly happened when he was being judgmental and was reacting too quickly to remain collected, or sometimes if he was just in a mood like now where he was too lethargic to really care about concealing what was going through his mind. So he didn't think twice when he raised his brow higher at the sound of Isaac saying he was good on cash. That was hard to believe, not because of Isaac himself, but simply because they were all living in a basement. It was clear none of them were very doing very well. Of course, Killens would just take Isaac's word for it and wouldn't prod him about it although his face clearly demonstrated some level of speculation, albeit it being somewhat unenthused speculation. Hell, if anything he was now more so curious about what Isaac did to be 'solid' financially. He wasn't knowledgeable about what the guy did to make money, and he didn't care for too much longer as it was just a passing thought and Isaac had continued to speak.

"Mhm," Roman muttered as he finished swallowing the rest of his sprite. He dangled his hand over his legs and spun the soda some, listening to the remaining liquid. The sound that played back was hollowed, the can itself light. As he thought about it, he remembered he wasn't entirely a fan of Sprite. It wasn't bad, but it was too carbonated--kinda hurt. If anything, he could at least be grateful for a little sugar rush, but that didn't apply to him. If he had too much sugar in one sitting, he'd just get really groggy and tired. The fact that he could still go for a nap right about now wasn't helping either. "Well, I don't know why you fucking care, quite frankly," he began drowsily, his words muffled by the yawn that escaped as he spoke. He took a moment to finish before proceeding. "But I'm not going to beg you to take my money."

He finished the last of his soda, deciding he'd just go ahead and discard it, just for the hell of it. He was relatively good when it came to keeping up with his things, although there were some hints of disorganization. There were times though, like now, where he felt the need to go ahead and get rid of any trash he had. Even though he could have just as easily gone up to the bar, he saw this as an opportunity to have a smoke and so decided he'd hit the alley instead. Roman stood up, stretching in the process as he placed a cigarette between his lips. "Just give it when you got it. So long as the others aren't around," he said as he grabbed his jacket and slipped it on, remembering that it was a bit chilly today. He glanced at Isaac and held the open pack of cigarettes in his direction. "For your services," he said. He was normally quite stingy about his cigarettes and really only offered them to Nick, but they both shared with each other, so it wasn't even too big a deal. The guy had just caught Roman in a relatively blasé mood which was why he didn't mind giving one. Besides, like Isaac said, sharing is caring.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens

0.00 INK

Image
__________________________________________________________





ImageWas it even fair that a person could raise a singular eyebrow that high? And why was it so damn sensual? Isaac couldn't raise his eyebrow that high...he could barely even lift one instead of both of them, and that had taken long hours of practice in front of the mirror. He was also letting his thoughts ramble distractedly, so his own much-too-emotional face didn't give away the fact that he knew Roman had caught him lying about the state of how deep his pockets went. At least, lying a little bit. Of course he needed money, they all did, they lived in a basement under a pub. But he didn't need it so bad he would starve, either.

He did know Killens well enough to know if the conversation just kept moving, the man wouldn't care enough to press the subject, and so the moment was over in mere seconds. Was he staring too much? He probably was. Probably focused a little too intently on the way Roman's hand fit around his cup, rolling it slightly so they could both still hear the swish of whatever liquid was still in it. Water maybe? Isaac didn't know. He wanted to know. Because he was hopeless. He really needed to get his life together. His eyes snapped back up when the man spoke again, and god how he wanted to admit that he didn't know why he fucking cared either. He really shouldn't. The way his heart jumped every time Roman even walked into a room lead to madness. And he was well aware of that. What he should care about doing was keeping his distance, not using every single excuse possible to talk to him. Straight boys would break his heart, without even being aware of it. He knew that.

Stretching was unfair. Really fucking unfair. And Isaac did not have the kind of self control to keep his gaze from drifting down Roman's body when he stood. The man had a nice build, obviously, he was a fighter...there were muscles that pulled in his arms, lean as they may be...and he was taller than Isaac, maybe a little lanky, but evidently that was the kind of thing Isaac was into. Why did he do this to himself? Oh and now they were adding cigarettes. Fantastic. Of course Isaac knew Killens smoked, a lot of them did, but it didn't stop it from being so. fucking. attractive. Also, he really shouldn't enjoy watching a boy put on clothes so much, but he did, he really did. It was just the way Roman moved. It was all too much to handle, really. Isaac barely even realized Killens was speaking, but managed to understand the words quick enough to raise his hand to his head and salute. Of course he wouldn't offer drugs when the others were around, he knew better. He did not know better than to use the hand his book was holding to salute, which was stupid, but whatever. Saluting was stupid in the first place. What was his problem?

He was just about to step off the wall and go back to his own bed - and probably groan into his arms for an hour, since Roman was obviously making to leave the basement and wouldn't hear - when the open pack of cigarette's being held his way stopped him. He didn't need one. He didn't even particularly like nicotine, which wasn't as smooth as marijuana, but...he was obviously too far gone to reject anything Roman was actually offering. So he took one with a smile and a nod, a barely mumbled 'appreciated', before sliding the slender tube behind his ear out of habit. He really had half the mind to say he'd be happy to join Killens for a smoke, but he squashed that down fast. For one thing, regardless of how much the man made him feel like a blushing teenager again, he wasn't. For another, he knew the guy liked his alone time, and he'd already trampled on that once. It was fine. Whatever. He could go back, finish his book, and in a couple of days when Roman was alone, he'd get a chance to talk to him again. He and his stupid, stupid crush could wait until then.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens

0.00 INK

Image
Image

Just as he struck the flint wheel and got a flame, a gust of wind came and blew it out. Roman closed his eyes and let out a frustrated sigh before trying again. It was clear the fuel was low as he was having a harder time than he should trying to get a flame. As he continued to strike the dial a few times, he noticed the slight tremor in his hands. He quickly ignored it, reminding himself that it was cold out, but this was just denial. After years of fighting, it was inevitable that some damage would occur, one of which consisted of a persistent tremble that really stood out to him more than anybody else. It wasn't so bad that it looked like he was visibly shaking, and he typically forgot about it, but it was there and it didn't used to be. On top of that, besides the obvious aches, he was more forgetful and prone to headaches. The latter didn't really occur until after his first concussion. Or was it the second?

He was leaning against the wall when he felt a vibration in his pocket. Without much enthusiasm, as he could already guess who it was, he fetched it out and looked at the called ID displayed on the cheap prepaid phone. Martinez. Formally his handler, informally the ass he was basically indebted to for God knew how long. Street fighting wasn't really his choice but rather his last resort. No one really gets into it, it just sort of happens. At least such was the case for him. He was fifteen when he had his first match; sixteen when he really started getting into it. He had to stay because everything else he'd tried before failed. After about a year into the game, he had a bad night that landed him in the hospital. He should have died really, and that's what would have happened if it wasn't for Martinez who was the property owner of where it all went down. It was the only reason he'd saved Killens because if not, he had a sure ticket to jail for not only being involved in illegal fighting, but for having the blood of a minor on his hand. Since it happened on his land, he would have to take all the blame. Take into consideration the deep, deep medical costs, the payoffs given to the doctors to keep Roman's immigration status under the radar, and all the other hurdles that had to be jumped, he owed the guy a lot of money. His previous handler was an absolute dick and compared to him Martinez wasn't so bad, but sometimes Killens wished he'd just died on the scene. If there was one thing he hated, it was owing people. He didn't like knowing that someone had something over him and that they could use it against him. There came a sense of being out of control that just made Roman anxious. It was the reason he answered the phone at the last second.

"Hey," he said.

"You busy?" Martinez said. Roman quickly lied and told him yes. "Well get unbusy. I need to talk to you. I'm over here in Midtown--at the Red Lobster. You hungry?"

Roman groaned internally. The last thing he wanted to do was go to Times Square, and although he still hadn't really eaten, he didn't want any food either. But he still muttered a simple, "Sure" before hanging up. Roman finished his cigarette, not really enjoying the remainder of it, before he checked his pocket to make sure his wallet was there and then went to the street to flag a cab. En route, he wondered what could be so important that Martinez would want to talk in person. It couldn't be about the match last night since he'd won, which reminded him that on top of a new lighter, he needed to go to the store for some tape and Vaseline. The tape stabilized his wrists and the vaseline was slathered on his face before matches to make the punches slide off. His continued bruises seemed to attest a different story, but it was one of the things he had to stay on top of unless he wanted to hear Martinez's mouth.

He quickly ventured through the revolving door of the Red Lobster once he'd arrived. The layout was kind of confusing. Just behind the host stand was a spiral staircase and on the ground floor was what looked like a typical restaurant with tables and booths. He'd never been upstairs, so he wasn't sure if it was an extension of the restaurant or not. The downstairs was awkwardly shaped because of this set up, but Roman didn't have to look too long before he spotted Martinez waving him over. Killens took the empty side of the booth just as the waiter brought out a fresh basket of bread. The waiter greeted Roman and offered him water to which Killens quickly declined but Martinez turned to the waiter and said, "Bring him something to drink." The waiter looked confused momentarily but the demand sounded serious enough for him to not wait around for too long. Martinez pushed the bread in his direction and Roman held up his hand in declination. "You look like shit," Martinez told him. "Eat some damn bread."

Bitch, Roman thought to himself as he took an aggressive bite out of the roll. He'd learned to be careful around the guy because it seemed that Martinez had a habit of 'just remembering' some amount of money that Roman owed him from 'that time when' and he could never give more detail than that it seemed. Of course, Roman wasn't dumb. He knew well enough that the guy only fabricated some past scenario when he needed extra money, and Roman was enough of a coward around him to oblige. It was like with any boss--you put up with their shit unless you don't want a job and, in his case, to get deported. "You start dieting or something? You look skinnier than the last time I saw your pasty white ass."

Killens snarled at the pasty comment especially since Martinez was damn near white himself. He knew the guy was actually Hispanic, but he could pass if he really wanted to. His hair was a medium brown and his eyes grey, his skin lacking enough pigmentation to where his last name spoke more to his ethnicity than his actual physical features did. But there was something in his traits that spoke to his true ethnicity. It could have been the thickness and wave of his hair or his hard eyes, the curvature in his nose. Whatever it was, once you found out he was Hispanic, it wasn't hard to believe. Even if it was, he made sure you knew he wasn't white. "I was sick," Roman said. At least that much was true. Just the past week he'd come down with a bug that caused him to lose his appetite and his will to get out of bed. When he'd looked in the mirror he could see that his face was a little slimmer; he might have lost five pounds, which seemed a little extreme for just a quick cold, but he'd always been that way, ever since he was a kid. Coupled with his fast metabolism and already lanky build, it didn't take much for him to lose weight. It was harder to put it on, much to his dismay. "Did you just want to insult me while I eat your damn bread or did you actually need something?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

Image
Image
Despite what people thought, Brooklyn usually knew what she was doing, and how far she was going when she made inappropriate comments. She wasn't dumb, and she definitely wasn't oblivious to people's reactions to her. She continued to make her comments though, usually for the simple fact that she could. She could say whatever she wanted to say, and if someone had a problem with that, they could tell her. She wasn't going to change the way she acted and she certainly wasn't going to be offering them any tissues for their overly-sensitive feelings, but they had just as much of a right to tell her as she did to say them. It wasn't that Brooklyn really thought of herself as some invincible person who could push and push others and expect nothing to happen in return. She didn't think that she had superhuman strength and could take on Kiara and Lateefah if they decided to jump her one day, but she had power in other ways. Just being able to push people to where they reacted reminded her of that. She liked being able to get under people's skin, and when someone did challenge her, her response was usually as simple as "leave if you don't like it here". If she bothered them so much, that they couldn't stand existing in her presence, then they could leave the basement.She had been there before anyone, even Nick, and she didn't intend on being run out by someone who was lucky enough to be allowed to stay there. It wasn't true, or at least proven, but she felt like if anyone had the authority to kill someone out besides Finn, it would be her.

Holly was a little bit of a different story. Brooklyn didn't like upsetting her, but it also wasn't her fault if Holly held some unrealistic idolized view of her disgusting sister. She could make up whatever lies she wanted to, but Brooklyn was sure that Lateefah's "call girl" job, or whatever she wanted to call it, was prostitution. So why should she feel guilty for describing her job accurately to Holly? Was that really that much worse than lying to her? She sensed that her comment bothered the younger girl when she didn't feel her hanging on her arm as she walked to the registers, but it didn't bother her. Not at all. Holly would get over it, like she always did, and if she didn't, oh well. It wasn't Brooklyn's problem. She sometimes had to remind herself of that. That Holly wasn't her sister, or her responsibility, even to an extent where she had to care about her feelings. That wasn't her job to do, and that was just another reason for why it was hard for her to be warm towards Holly a lot of the time. She didn't want to get attached, because it would only remind her of her own loss, of how she was deprived of sisterhood and how unfair it was.

She paid for her things and didn't wait for the pair who were at the register beside her. Instead, she headed outside of the store and waited for them there. She had purchased a Sprite from one of the coolers by the register while she paid, and she now spent her minutes waiting by mixing one of her mini vodkas into it. It wouldn't do much, but a shot's worth of alcohol already seemed necessary. It was more her fault than Holly's or Cara's, but Brooklyn wouldn't acknowledge that as she took a sip.

The girls emerged a couple of minutes later, and Brooklyn allowed her eyes to rove over Holly. See? She's fine. I could tell that girl her sister died and all it would take would be some candy for her to be normal again. She hated that inner part of herself that did care, and did need to reassure herself that she wasn't really that mean. It only had her craving her alcohol, as if its bitterness would silence that voice in her head. "Do you want to take a cab or the subway to Bed Bath & Beyond? It's like a twenty minute walk from here." It was probably only a fifteen minute one, and one that Brooklyn normally wouldn't mind walking on a nice evening like today's, but if Cara had the money to pay for a cab, why not?

She was on the curb, hailing a cab before either of the two even had a chance to object, and as one pulled over for them, Brooklyn slid into the back row, giving him the address of the store they were heading to next. "I think your mattress is up in Finn's apartment, or maybe Nick gave it to the new kid, Oliver. Either way, don't buy a new one. It's not like we can even carry that thing all the way back by ourselves, and even a princess like you shouldn't be paying a million dollars for them to deliver it."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

ImageImage
As Cara led Holly out of the store, she wondered if it was really right of them to go on without Kiara. The girl had said to leave, but was it proper etiquette to go over to the fast food place she saw her running off to, just to double check? Cara guessed that proper etiquette wasn't really a thing out here. She was lucky that no one in the basement really fell into the real homeless stereotype, or at least what she thought to be the real standard for homeless people. None of them were so messed up on drugs that they were flailing with seizures every night, or trying to stab someone else during a drug induced-psychotic episode. She sometimes did worry about it, but she knew that she didn't really have to protect her belongings down there that much. While Brooklyn had made it clear that her things had been taken within days of her leaving, she didn't think that anyone would steal from her when she was still living down there. They were all human beings, and maybe it spoke to Cara's true personality, but she didn't think the same of the bums she would pass on the streets. She remembered being a young girl, maybe eight or nine years old, on her way to see the New York City Ballet's Swan Lake performance. Their driver had to let them out on the side street adjacent to the theater that day because of the high traffic in front, and during that short two minute walk, they passed by a scruffy looking man holding up a sign saying that he was an army veteran who had lost everything. She asked her father about it later that night, and he told her that all of those people lied to get free money. That they were bad people who were too lazy to work on their own, so they wanted to pretend to be sick or struggling to get free money without having to do anything on their own. One would think that now, after what she experienced over the past year, that her view on that would be different, but it wasn't really. The people she lived with just weren't the same as those people. Even if it was possible that ten or twenty years down the line, they would be in that exact position, Cara wouldn't acknowledge or believe it. They were just... different.

She officially decided against reaching out to Kiara when they found Brooklyn waiting outside. "Um, a cab would be fine," Cara answered, but it seemed like Brooklyn's question had been a rhetorical one, because the brunette was already turning away to hail a cab for them. She knew Brooklyn, and she knew that she was the stupid one if she expected the girl to suddenly be warm and fuzzy just because she was back (especially since she had seen Brooke just a week ago), but she wished she would be a little nicer today. Cara was still readjusting to all of this, and it would have been just a tad helpful if Brooklyn would at least try to be a nice person. She didn't even expect her to venture outside of her nature. She understood that Brooklyn was more closed off than most people, and that she seemed to react aggressively to keep people at bay. That was good and well, Cara didn't expect to change that, but at the same time, she knew that Brooklyn could at least try to be better. Try to hold her tongue more often, or try to at least consider other people's feelings. Cara could tolerate it because she liked the fun Brooke that she got to know when she realized that Brooklyn could drink and let loose, but this Brooklyn was hard for even her to take. That was especially true when Holly was with them, because not only did Holly sometimes make Brooklyn more irate, but Cara also tried not to feed into Brooklyn's actions when Holly was around. She didn't like to return Brooklyn's attitude or sarcastic and witty remarks with the girl who had a tendency to mimic people, standing right there.

With a quiet sigh, Cara took Holly by the hand and led her to the cab. "There's a Panera Bread up the block from the store. Do you want to eat there after?" she asked as they slid into the back with Brooklyn, who then started speaking to her. "Okay, well I guess I'll just see what they have when I get there. I don't want--" She was getting ready to say that she didn't want to use a mattress that someone else, especially someone she didn't know, had been sleeping on, when she checked herself. "I don't want to take it from him if he's been using it. I'm sure they have those thin ones that I can use temporarily, and then maybe your big, strong boyfriend can help me carry a heavier one home this weekend," she continued, with the last sentence being more playful.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Writer
Image
Image
Holly followed Cara out of the store without a fuss. She was too busy picking the three red Skittles out of her handful and popping them into her mouth, and then doing the same with the orange and yellow ones, before dumping the purple and green ones in the trashcan outside the doors. Today, she decided that she didn't like those two colors of the candy, but tomorrow, it was likely to change again. "Okay," she said, simply nodding as Cara suggested that they get Panera Bread after they went to the next store, that Brooklyn said would be Bed Bath and Beyond. Holly remembered going there with Lateefah when they were living in the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, but it wasn't a place they frequented now. It wasn't a store that interested her, really. The name of the store was pretty true to its contents, and bedding, bath towels, and household essentials weren't things that Holly cared for. She'd likely find something she would want there, because it was easy for her to become enthralled in the little things, but really, Barnes & Nobles sounded more fun than that. She would have to deal with Cara insisting she pick out a book to read, but at least there they also had a small section of games, and books with stickers or ones with tutorials on how to braid your hair in cool ways. That sounded better than having to stand next to Cara as she debated whether she wanted ivory or cream colored bed sheets.

She didn't object to going to the store though. Holly wasn't someone who was quiet or afraid to voice her opinion, but she also was pretty easy going. She was rambunctious and frequently a lot to handle, but she never tried to be bratty or bothersome. It occasionally happened without her intending it to, but for the most part, she was able to take things in stride and make the best out of it. Still a bit perturbed with what Brooklyn had said inside CVS, Holly didn't address her during the car ride. It wasn't in a cold-shoulder way, but just because she decided to direct her attention elsewhere. Surprisingly, it wasn't to the cab driver or even the screen in front of them that showed the weather and the news, and less interestingly, the meter with their updating-fare as the cab drove. Instead, her face was nearly pressed to the window. She and Lateefah took cabs sometimes, and though Holly liked walking, driving was interesting too. It was like she was no longer a part of the city, if only for a few minutes. Instead, she was watching the people hurry across the street before the traffic started coming, or people lining up to buy roasted almonds, from inside of the car. The sounds of almost everything aside from the horns blaring were all muted, and it was something that was calming for Holly, who seemed to hear and smell and see things in a deeper way than normal people. Every little thing caught her attention, and in a big city with so much going on, all of the time, it was like her senses were constantly being overloaded when she was out and about. Inside, it felt different, and the comfort of that allowed her to stay distracted with the sights for most of the short cab ride. "Do they sell real beds here?" Holly asked when they got out of the car. "I've been telling Tee for my whole life that I want bunk beds and she's never gotten one for me. Do you think they sell them here? Because I want to be able to sleep on the top, and I can't do that in my regular bed."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart

0.00 INK

Image
__________________________________________________________





ImageAfter Roman left, Isaac decided he had two choices. One, he could go lay down in his bed, groan into his pillow, and wonder what he was doing with his life. Or two, he could collect himself and actually go do something. Colton was asleep and Holly was out, so that meant Tee was probably free. Working, but was besides the point.

Still, he definitely needed a pick-me-up or his bad mood was just going to get worse. He went back to his own part of the room to kneel down under his bed and get his hands on his lock box. It was mostly just copies of his legal shit - social security card, birth certificate, an expired license, that kind of stuff - and a few bills from the clinic he still hadn't paid off. Followed by a rather frightening stack of gay porn that hid his drugs and what little cash he didn't keep on him. He figured if anyone really wanted into his stash, they'd flip through the smut to get to it anyway, but it was a good deterrent.

So he popped a few advils to deal with the pounding in his head and the left over nausea, and then threw back a few adderalls while he was at it. Which should do the trick, at least for a quick fix. Then he ran a hand through his hair, made sure his cigarette was tucked safely behind his ear, and made his way upstairs after putting everything back together.

He found Lateefah easily enough. She was still working, so Isaac chose his favorite seat and waited until she finally had enough time for him. "Tee," he complained, in a whine he was notorious for when he wanted something. "I'm bored. Please tell me you get off soon so I can bother you and not have to go back downstairs to regret all my life decisions." To be fair, Isaac regretted quite a lot of his life decisions, but he could also handle that on a daily basis. Homeless and an addiction problem were a lot easier to deal with than hopeless crushes. That last one sucked the most, and he really wanted a distraction from thinkin about it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens

0.00 INK

Image
Image

When he first came to New York, everyone and everything seemed to move rapidly. Every fast paced interaction had a purpose and at first this scared him. Now, though, it appeared that everything had slowed. Over the years either his pace had improved or his patience worsened (probably both) because now a lot of the times people weren't going fast enough for him. Like now for instance. Martinez seemed set on doing everything but get to the point. The only time the man would take a breath was briefly to inhale more of his food, or to motion to Roman to keep eating, although his appetite still hadn't returned. He knew he should be grateful. Free food, especially after wasting money back at the diner, was something to be grateful. And given his typical dining which really wasn't ever anything more than something quick from a food stand or maybe from a drugstore, this was a treat. Even still, the biscuit that was less than the size of his palm seemed like too much. It was his third one by now and there were still four more that Martinez seemed pressed about him eating. As if that would somehow make him gain twenty pounds in muscle. What was the guy even talking about now?

"And that's why I brought you here," Martinez was saying. Roman looked at him quietly, not having said more than a few words since arriving. He nodded to indicate that he understood when in reality he'd missed the whole thing. "Because opportunity is precious and I've got a precious opportunity for you." It was safe to say that Martinez was a bit dramatic. Killens sometimes wondered if the guy thought he was a salesman or something because he always exaggerated everything. Roman nodded again. "You're subbing. I've got a fight for you. Tonight," Martinez said with a pleased grin as he wagged his fork at Roman who was staring at him dumbfounded. Martinez didn't seem to comprehend the look that Roman was giving him, so Killens swallowed the bread he'd been chewing for a while and sipped his water before speaking. "I had one last night."

"And you've got another one in," Martinez began, only pausing to look at his watch, and then he continued, "'bout 6 hours." Roman gave him a hard look, but before he could protest, Martinez cut him off. "You got something against making money now? You should be thankin' me. I give you free bread, free water, some fights. I don't get a thank you? How do you think that makes me feel, huh?" He didn't wait for an answer. "I didn't have to call you," he said. "But I did. Because I like you. Because you're an investment. I make money, you make money. We're both happy. And I mean I do all the hard work. I find you good fights you've actually got a chance at. All you gotta do is throw a few punches." Roman had a good mind to tell him that that wasn't how investments worked and that only one of them was going home purple and blue, but he didn't say that. Instead he rubbed the frustration that was accumulating in his temple and sighed. "I can't do it tonight, Martinez."

"Killens, Killens, Killens," he said, which meant a lecture was coming. "Let me tell you a story. One time I had this ball. I put it on top of this little hill and it rolled down. So I picked it up, put it back up there, and what happens? It rolls down again. I keep bring it up there, and it keeps rolling down. So what do I do? Do I get mad at the ball? No, because the ball doesn't know any better. So I get a little block and put it in front of the ball and guess what? It stays." Martinez spoke as if he'd just discovered some miraculous discovery and presumed to his food for about five minutes. Roman watched him disinterestedly, again wondering why he was so damn slow. When he finally spoke, he displayed a mouthful of food. "So I had to introduce an outside force, take matters into my own hands, to get what I want. Now do you get it? If I have to, I'll introduce an outside force, Killens, and I'll take matters into my own hands. And I don't think you'll like that, but it's nothing to worry about since I'll be seeing you tonight. Because you do want to pay off your debt to me, right? Or am I mistaken?"

Roman focused on the salt shaker on the end of the table. It was slightly slanted, little salt crumbs decorated around its base. The tremor in his hands had formed into a tremble and the nausea that had subsided was returning. A thick lump was blocking air from getting down his throat, but he didn't swallow. Instead he just frowned at the salt shaker, purposely avoiding Martinez's eyes. Roman cleared his throat and straightened the salt shaker. "No," he said. Martinez nodded his head in approval, his fork resuming to clinking and clanking against the plate. He slurped his pasta, his mood cheerful again. "Good," he said through his loud chewing. "Good."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

Image
Image Image
Image
{¶ 2 written by LaurenAFI}
It was only when Cara brought up Nick carrying her mattress back to the bar for her, that it clicked in Brooklyn's mind that Roman and Cara had basically had a one night stand on the night before Cara left. That remembrance had her laughing out loud, though it probably just seemed like she was laughing at Cara's comment. "I'm sure he would, BUT, asking your big, strong boyfriend seems like a good idea too. Wait, because weren't you and Roman a thing? And now that real-life Ken doll is out of the picture, I guess it's you can kick back up whatever the fuck that was." She was joking, for the most part. She knew good and well that Cara regretted that night (or at least, acted like she did). Besides, Roman didn't seem like the type of guy who did relationships. For the length of time that Brooklyn had known him, she hadn't ever heard of a girlfriend, and on top of that, even if he was willing to date Cara, the idea of Cara and Roman seriously dating was laughable in itself. Just looking at Cara... and then looking at Roman... it just spelled a bad idea. They didn't look like they would be compatible with each other, and knowing both of them pretty well, Brooklyn didn't think that their personas would be compatible either. Regardless, she didn't think that meant that she couldn't push the idea just to bother the blonde.

"What it was, was a mistake. A mistake that I don't plan on making twice. And I don't want to talk about this in front of..." she nodded towards Holly, who was far too focused on staring out the window to tune into their conversation. Cara had only took Brooklyn about her drunken night with Roman, and she really didn't want anyone else finding out. She guessed that Nick would know at this point, if not through Roman himself, than through Brooklyn, who seemed to find the matter to be more entertaining than anything else. She seriously wanted to shut this conversation down, but not before adding, "But if he wants to help carry it, I won't say no," with a playful smile.

Brooklyn obliged with Cara's less-than-subliminal insistence that they save this conversation for a time when Holly wasn't around. She was surprisingly still fighting herself over feeling bad about what she had said inside of the store, but decided that it was normal for Holly to be this quiet when she was very involved in something else. Maybe she just liked looking out the window. Brooklyn had heard that Holly was like a different person when you put her in front of a screen to watch a movie, so maybe looking through the window at the New York life was similar to that for her. Only a few more minutes passed, and Brooklyn appreciated the silence. She didn't need anything from Bed Bath & Beyond, and tended to save her reckless spending for stores that sold clothes, makeup or alcohol, so she doubted she would end up purchasing anything here. That meant that she would likely spend the duration of the trip with Cara and Holly, and though part of her hoped that Holly would perk up just to prove she wasn't bothered by Brooke's comment, she also wished this silence could last forever. Her headache was on the verge of being gone, but she knew that Holly's voice had that magical power of bringing it back in a millisecond.

"They don't sell bunk beds here, and even if they did, we're not putting bunk beds down there. This isn't summer camp for anyone but Cara." Logically, bunk beds probably would be a good solution to living with so many people. It would save a lot of space, and likely be more comfortable than the bare mattresses that a lot of the others slept on. It wouldn't really affect Brooklyn, since there was a wall that divided where she and Nick stayed with the space that the others shared, but she knew it would bother her either way. It would give their life too much of that summer camp vibe, where they were all great buddies just here for a sleepover, and that wasn't what this was supposed to be. It was supposed to be temporary! That's what she had been saying for eight years, at least. The mere fact that Cara was at Bed Bath & Beyond, a store for suburban moms, looking for a mattress, rather than garbage picking one, just spoke to this being like a vacation for her. Brooklyn figured that she had spoken enough on that topic for now, though, and besides, she had always liked Cara. Being able to go out with her and do things that normal people could do was a nice change. It reminded her that she could still blend in to normal society if she wanted to, and that there was still hope for her to get back to the real world. "They do sell toasters here, though. You said you and Tee are going to move out by Christmas, right? Why don't you find one of those for Cara to buy you, so you can use it when you get your new apartment?" Coercing Holly into picking out something completely useless, for an apartment that Brooklyn was sure they were never going to get, might have been wrong, but she didn't care. It seemed like a better option than telling her that they should set up a gift registry for the baby shower that Tee would be having if she kept sleeping around so much.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

ImageImage
"Brooklyn's right, I don't think they sell bunk beds here, Holl," Cara said, making her way to the front of the group as she led them into the store. Although real shopping malls, like the ones in more suburban areas, weren't common in New York, there were sometimes buildings with multiple stores in them. This location on Avenue of the Americas, had one of those layouts, where once you walked through the rotating door, you could go left to get to Marshalls, right to get to TJ Maxx, or up an escalator to get to Bed Bath & Beyond. She knew that if she gave Holly the chance to even consider which way she wanted to go, she'd end up in line to purchase a vest before she even got any of the things she needed, so taking the lead seemed necessary. Especially considering that Brooklyn seemed to be in the mood to provoke Holly into being annoying. "No, I don't think we need a toaster. Tee will buy that for them when they do move in," Cara corrected Brooklyn. She spoke as if she didn't think that Brooklyn was doing this on purpose, for Holly's sake, but glared at the brunette when their gazes met.

"Why don't we look for a new pillowcase for you after I pick out what I need?" That seemed like a simple enough thing to buy her. It wasn't like she was buying her a whole new bed set where Tee would feel inclined to give her money that she probably couldn't truly spare, and it also wasn't like she was buying something like a toaster, that was completely useless. Plus, that was the first section that Cara headed to when they got into the store. More than anything, she was going to need a place to physically sleep in the basement. Brooklyn had posed a good point, that a real mattress would be far too heavy for them to carry back on their own, and that the delivery fees probably were outrageous. If Brooklyn hadn't pointed that out, it likely never would have crossed her mind, but now that it was known that she knew, she knew that she couldn't go through with it without Brooklyn making it into a big deal. Besides, what was she going to tell the delivery people? That she wanted the mattress dropped off outside of a pub? That obviously wasn't going to work, but having Nick and Roman lug a mattress during a twenty minute walk wouldn't be much better.

What Cara thought to be one of the few good things about stores like these, the ones that she tended to only shop at when she was living in the basement, was that the atmosphere was much less relaxed. It was different than walking into Jonathan Adler and being nearly stalked by a saleswoman who wanted to grant your every wish. Here, Cara could browse without a second glance from the employees who definitely didn't work off of commission. As she headed towards the bedding section, she did notice a small display of mattresses, but they were all thin, and likely mattresses for futons or daybeds. "Homeless" or not, Cara wasn't going to spend her nights on a mattress that looked thinner than some of the blankets she owned. Even if she did plan on going somewhere that sold actual bed frames tomorrow, she knew that that thin mattress wouldn't work in the long term. Of course, she didn't have much of a choice right now. She would either spend the night sleeping on something like that, or on the hard floor. Still unsure of how she would get it home, she kept it as a possibility, but continued down to the aisles where the bedding was sold. Regardless of what type of mattress she would get, she knew she would have to downgrade to a twin sized one for space-saving sake. "So, what else did I miss while I was away? Has Brooklyn been treating you nicely? I'm surprised she and Nick aren't married by now," Cara said, speaking to Holly despite her eyes being focused on the wall of bedding, but also knowing that Brooklyn was standing within hearing distance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Writer
Image
Image
When the cab ride was over, Holly followed the girls out of the car and into the store. She stood at the back of the group during the escalator ride up, turning her head back as they went up to watch everyone on the bottom floor get smaller. "Ooh, I want a toaster!" she exclaimed immediately upon Brooklyn's suggestion. That sounded fun. She had known how to use the toaster at her grandmother's house. Granted, more than half of the time that she tried to cook something, it ended in a small fire and her grandmother banning her from ever touching it again if Tee wasn't there, but still, she liked to say that she knew how to use it. It wasn't her fault that no one ever told her that putting a can of soup in the toaster wouldn't just make it hot. As they continued inside, Cara insisted that they didn't need to get that until they moved into the apartment, and that Tee would handle buying one. Holly considered that it was probably true, but continued to wonder if they would get the pop-up kind of toaster, or an actual toaster oven. Would it be white? Black? Pink? Red? Would Tee let her use it? She told herself that it was necessary that she remember to ask Tee all of those questions later on, but once Cara suggested she look for a pillowcase, she was totally over the idea of getting a toaster.

"I do need a new pillowcase! Can we get one for Tee too? I think she would like a blue one because she's wearing a blue shirt today," Holly spoke as she hovered by Cara. The blonde stopped in front of a row of bedding, but they didn't look like just pillowcases. While she could have stood to get a whole new bed set too, Holly was set on the idea of getting a pillowcase, so she didn't even ask. She was too busy looking around the aisle for them, and eventually she found the section right across from the section that Cara was looking at. "No, they fight a lot still," she responded somberly, pausing from looking at the pillowcase color choices, as she thought about it. Brooklyn being mean directly to her wasn't enough to taint the likability that Brooklyn had in Holly's eyes, but she still didn't like her and Nick being mean to each other. It wasn't like she and Lateefah sat in the basement all day, everyday and witnessed every fight, but for the few hours a week that they were down there and not sleeping, they saw and heard enough of them. Everyone did, and while everyone else was probably used to it by now, Holly wasn't. It made her very uncomfortable for a few reasons, with one being that she didn't know whose side she was supposed to take, even if she technically didn't need to take a side at all. Nick was always a nice guy, and she thought Brooklyn was a nice girl, so them shouting obscenities at each other, or even just Brooklyn doing that to him, bothered her. "I don't think they're going to get married. Nick doesn't ever wear a suit," she reasoned, as if that meant it were impossible for him to get married. "And you need flowers for weddings, so if they don't do it soon all of the flowers will die because winter is coming, and then they'll have to wait til the spring, and by then they'll be mad at each other again." She was silent for a moment before spinning around with a two pack of aqua colored satin pillowcases in her hand. "Can we get these ones for me and Tee? They look shiny."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Colton King Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

Location: Manhattan, NY
Date: Friday, October 16th 2015
Time: 10:00 PM

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Colton King

0.00 INK

#, as written by Thunder
Image
Image
Living with a bunch of roommates meant that you either had to be a heavy sleeper, or adjust to getting an hour's worth of good sleep a night. Luckily for Colton, he had been a heavy sleeper even when he was living in his middle class house, with his own bedroom and a real comfortable bed to lie in. On most days, he could sleep for twelve hours straight if his mother didn't wake him up, and especially after smoking, the same was still true now in the basement. He had passed out on his mattress at around four in the afternoon, and was only stirring now, around ten, because he had to go to the bathroom. Guess this is karma for finishing off her Sprite... he thought, still feeling the weight of sleepiness in his body as he rubbed his hand over his face to try to slowly adjust to being awake. He had absolutely no idea how long he had been sleeping. Whether it was six o'clock in the evening, or six o'clock the next morning was beyond him. It wasn't completely dark, but then again, it never really was. Either the bathroom light was on, the one by the stairwell, or depressingly artificial glow of the main lights always seemed to be on in the basement. With so many people coming in and out at all hours of the night, it was impossible to leave everything off at once, so he was used to it. It didn't help his case right now though, but he also didn't care that much. It wasn't like he had a job schedule that he had to adhere to anymore. The only thing that he was curious about involving the time, was whether Lateefah's shift was over yet.

As he went to relieve himself, he noticed that she wasn't in her designated area of the basement which was a good sign, in his opinion. At least she wasn't asleep, where he'd get attitude for waking her up to insist she fulfill her promise that she'd mess around with him tonight. He didn't think that he had slept for that short of a period where her shift would still be hours longer, so, despite his body's please, he didn't lay back down on his mattress after leaving the bathroom. He wiped the cold water he had splashed on his face on his blanket, rolled a couple of swipes of deodorant on, and put his shoes back on. Before heading upstairs, he chugged one of the lukewarm beers that he had left, too used to the vile taste of the cheap, warm beer to even be bothered by it.

The bar itself wouldn't close for another couple hours, but Colton guessed by the looks of the place, that the kitchen was closing soon, if it hadn't already, and that was a good thing. It meant that Tee's shift would be over, and Colton didn't know if he was going to be able to wait to go anywhere besides that broom closet once she said she was ready. It had only been a week, but damn, it felt like a year. His hand clearly just didn't compare to the beautiful girl that he laid eyes on from across the room. For Colton, the initial attraction to Lateefah truly had just been in a lustful way. She was hot, and he was sure she would be a good time in bed. However, finding out that she was fiery and had a personality that was entertaining was just the icing on the cake. And then to learn that she was smart and motivated and caring, and all of that too, made it better. He wasn't the type of guy to get sentimental and claim that he cared about any girl's personality, and he likely still would have wanted Tee even if she was completely bland or bitchy, but this just made him want her more. "Tell me your shift is over already," he requested, walking up behind her with a grin. "I've got our whole date night planned. I'll take care of you, you take care of me, then we'll get pizza. And since my pullout game is so strong, I'll use our condom money for booze. Beer, vodka, rum? What're you in the mood for?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

Image
Image
Somehow, Brooklyn had gotten roped into spending more than just the afternoon with Cara and Holly. Their shopping trip ended in Cara placing an order for a new and nice mattress, and then a simple metal bed frame at a neighboring store. It was nothing fancy, and aside from being shiny and new, probably wasn't very different from the beds that some of the others had. The difference was, though, that none of them could have ever dropped hundreds of dollars on that. They were either pulled from the curb where they had been left for garbage, or purchased from some second hand store at a reasonable price. Purchasing a bed new wasn't something that crossed anyone's mind down there, especially when half of them were just sleeping on mattresses without any frame at all. Then again, this was Cara, and Brooklyn was sure that the blonde thought she was being economical by purchasing a normal mattress over one of the memory foam ones. Following all of that, Brooklyn had a headache, was out of alcohol, and was tired of Holly. They were all the way on the other side of town by that point, though, and Brooklyn didn't want to walk back to the bar, or spend money on cab or subway fare. She figured that after the stores, Cara would get them a taxi back to the bar, but they passed a movie theater and Holly was relentless. Brooklyn would claim that she was forced into it, but she didn't really object too much to the movie idea. Cara paid for her ticket, and Brooklyn took the almost two hour period of time sleeping. When they reemerged from the theater at around nine o'clock, she was still ready to isolate herself, but again, she was the type of person who had no problem blowing twenty dollars on alcohol, but cringed at the idea of wasting three dollars on subway fare. And if Cara was going to pay for her and Holly anyway, it just made sense for Brooklyn to go with them as well. Besides, she hadn't eaten at all today, so when Cara insisted that they stop at Panera on the way back, she agreed. This time, though, Brooklyn paid for herself. If it was something she actually wanted or needed, like her items at CVS, she had no problem with paying for herself.

The three girls didn't get back to the basement until it was already ten o'clock. Normally, on a Friday, Brooklyn would be starting her work shift at this time. She usually worked from ten at night to four in the morning Wednesday through Saturday, but this week, had switched with another girl to take on the Sunday shift earlier that week. It was a dumb move financially, but it had been the night of a big fight with Nick, and she just needed to get out. She didn't care that the payout for Sunday's were substantially lower than what she usually made on Fridays at that point, but was regretting it now. Before she got out of the cab with Cara and Holly, she texted her boss to see if any of the girls had called out and they needed her to fill in, but it was a negative. She was going to be stuck in the basement all night, and thanks to her screwed up sleep schedule, likely would be awake for at least another five or six hours. Luckily, she knew that she wouldn't feel as uptight once she started drinking again.

"Holly," Brooklyn said, waving the girl over when they had reached the basement. Holly's energy was still far too much for Brooklyn to tolerate, even with the knowledge that she would be drunk within the next hour. She knew that Cara wouldn't have it, so she tried to be discrete as she waved the teenager into her area of the basement. Nick wasn't around, so luckily, she wouldn't have to deal with him shoving his friendship and need to be loyal towards Lateefah down her throat either. "Remember I told you about that amazing juice that they had at the store? Well, I bought us some, but you have to be quiet about it, okay? Cara won't want you to have any because if she knows we have it, she's going to want all of it for herself." She pulled the bottle of Zzzquil out of her bag and rather than pouring it into the dosage cup it came with, poured close to twice that amount into an empty water bottle that she extended towards the redhead. "Now, drink it quick before Cara comes over, okay? And when you finish, I'll go get the rest of the Skittles from her and we can have those too." Maybe it was wrong to drug Holly into falling asleep, but Brooklyn wasn't going to spend the rest of her night listening to Holly try to explain the movie to her. Besides, it wasn't like she was feeding her prescription or street drugs.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kiara Moore

0.00 INK

#, as written by Bandit
Image
Image
Kiara felt like today had lasted for a week. Her goal was just to get through the day, spending as little money as possible, and be able to fall asleep. As long as she was asleep, she wasn't spending money, which meant that she would have to work that many less nights that week. After last night, she just couldn't bring herself to heading over to her usual area of the city and making a few bucks. It was tiring. It was traumatic. It was inhumane and disgusting, but it was all that she felt like she could do at this point. The money from yesterday would get her through until tomorrow night, at least, and she hoped that she would have the will to go back out and make some more money then.

She paced herself through a five dollar value meal at Wendy's, being sure to chew every bite of the greasy food until it was no harder than apple sauce. She would get up to refill her drink every so often, and with this routine, managed to spend an hour and a half in the fast food joint before growing too bored and restless. Walking aimlessly made her feel better for a while. At the very least, it was a distraction. She could focus on just moving her feet, one leg at a time, and her mind was vacant of any other thoughts. It wasn't the ideal way of life, but it was the only way that she had found survival to be feasible at this point. If she thought about where she was, about how she downed alcohol and drugs to keep reality from setting in and how she let men use and abuse her body to support those habits and continue the vicious cycle, she knew she'd kill herself. It was a bad cycle to be in, but at the same time, there was no way out. Not for a girl like her. With no education, no family, no money, no real skills... she needed to marry into money, like she joked about with Isaac, if she really wanted a chance, but even with that, no normal, affluent person would marry someone of her class level. Even on her worst days, Kiara was generally an attractive girl, but falling into a generous gene pool didn't negate all of the drawbacks that a girl like her had. She wasn't stupid, so she knew all of this. Whether she chose to acknowledge it or not was another story, but deep down, beyond the sky high BAC levels and empty pill baggies, she knew where she stood in life.

Somehow, by time night set in, Kiara found her way back to the bar. Her wallet was lighter now, with just ten dollars to her name after being lured into a liquor store by her devil on her shoulder. She really wished that she had saved the Quaalude she had taken last night for tonight, but she knew that the unbearable heaviness she was feeling now was nothing compared to last night, or any other night when she worked. Although she had made it back to the bar, she didn't go in, or even around the side entrance to the basement. Instead, she sat down on the pavement, with her back against the building. She didn't lift her head, even as an occasional drunk stumbled out of the bar, or a pedestrian passed by. Part of her hoped that Nick would pass by and not be inside already, and that she could convince him into lending her some weed until she had money. Seeing Isaac wouldn't be bad either. Even if no one came by, though, she wasn't ready to go downstairs yet. She was tired, that was more of an emotion for her than a physical state at this point, but not the kind of tired where she would be able to fall asleep. It was the kind of tired that would end with her lying on her mattress and realizing how much her life sucked, so for now, it seemed easier to sit outside, where at least the cool air was a change of pace as she sipped from the bottle shielded by a brown paper bag.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Writer
Image
Image
"I liked the real Peter Pan movie better than this one. You did too, right Cara? This one wasn't as fun because the dog wasn't in this one. Did you ever see the old Peter Pan, where there was a dog? What was its name again?" Holly could talk people's ears off when she had nothing to talk about, so when there was actually something new and content-filled in her life, that was only exaggerated by a thousand percent. With movies, it seemed to only be worse, because she did pay attention to them. During tonight's showing of Pan, her eyes didn't leave the screen once, so she didn't even notice Brooklyn sleeping through the entire movie until the lights turned on and the brunette didn't get up like the rest of them. Even hours later, after eating and returning to the basement, Holly was still going on and on about the movie to Cara, but it was evident that she was growing more tired now. It wasn't unusual for her to hit that point around this time. She was an early riser, so if she woke up around six or seven in the morning like she did today, she would usually be asleep by eleven or twelve at night. It differed by an hour or so sometimes, depending on normal things, such as whether she and Tee had walked a lot that day, or whether she had sugar before bed or not. Regardless, this was definitely Holly's least favorite time of the day. It was like her body was betraying her. Her mind was still racing, but she physically couldn't keep up with it anymore as the night progressed. Although she wanted to follow her train of thought and talk and interact with people, the energy behind that was dwindling, and laying down and closing her eyes seemed more and more appealing by the minute.

Following their return to the basement, she had put on pajamas, which were no more special than a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt, and gotten herself ready for bed, but she was still trying to fight that physical lethargy. She hadn't seen Lateefah since she left earlier that afternoon with the girls, and she wanted to stay awake at least until her sister finished her work shift. She needed to tell her about the movie she saw with Cara and Brooklyn, and how it wasn't as good as the cartoon version, but how it was also still good enough that she wanted to see it again with her.

No amount of tiredness was going to keep Holly settled on the edge of her bed when Brooklyn called her over, though. She was up and hurrying towards Brooklyn's section of the room before Cara could react, and soon found herself with a water bottle partially filled with a purple liquid in it. She shook the liquid around for a second, and nodded along to Brooklyn. Maybe it was because she was too tired to question the authenticity behind Brooklyn's insistence that this was some amazing, magical juice, or because she did want to rest of those Skittles, but she put her picky taste buds to rest for a moment as she consumed the drink. If she had known that it was something that could be considered medicine, she would have refused to drink it and if she ended up doing it, would have insisted that it was the worst thing she had ever consumed in her life. Still thinking that it was juice, she decided that it wasn't that bad. It felt a bit thicker than normal juice and the taste was strong, but it was okay, and if Brooklyn liked it, Holly did too. "Are you going to have some too?" she inquired, sitting down on Brooklyn's bed, as she handed the nearly-empty bottle back to her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

ImageImage
By the time their day ended, Cara was exhausted. Her time at her home felt like it had been weeks, maybe even months away, rather than just twelve hours before, and yet in another way, it was still fresh. She still didn't completely comprehend that she was here again, and that by her own wishes, her queen sized bed with white linen cleaned regularly was going to sit vacantly tonight. Her pantry that was constantly stocked with hundreds of dollars worth of healthy, organic food would be full and waiting, but she'd still be here, sitting in this basement with a stomach that would now just be filled with restaurant or fast food. Compared to the others, she couldn't complain. While Panera Bread was fast food to her, it was a luxury to some of the others and definitely beat McDonald's. Still, she didn't need to be here, and as she sat on the hard floor of the basement, she was faced with that more clearly now than she had been all day. The reality was setting in and knowing that she couldn't handle this life again made her want to cry but she didn't even have a bed to fall back on, though. She had ordered a mattress from the store that day, and surprisingly, it came with free delivery, but they wouldn't be able to deliver it until Monday. She agreed, because she didn't think she had any other option, but what was she supposed to do without a bed for three nights? Brooklyn had said that Nick would likely give up his bed for her, and right now, Cara thought she would accept it because sleeping on the hard floor would not be an option, but it defeated being here. She had a bed at home, and she came here because she thought she would be able to be independent and prove a point to... herself. She guessed that all of this was to prove a point to herself, because while in her states of pettiness, she thought it was an act against her father, but thinking clearly, she knew that these choices only hurt her. While she was here, her father and stepmother were preparing to leave on a weekend getaway the next morning.

Too caught up in her own fit of self-pity, she barely processed a word that Holly said as she went on about the movie they saw, and she didn't object when the redhead got up to answer Brooklyn's call. Brooklyn had been tamer than Cara thought she would be today, so she didn't have it in her to chase after Holly right away to prevent any mayhem from going down. It took her a good three minutes before her conscience got the best of her and she pulled herself up and headed behind the wall that blocked Nick and Brooke off from the rest of them. Again, she was too distracted with herself, and tired, to notice the bottle of Zzzquil that lay next to Brooklyn. "Holl, why don't you try to lay down now? It's getting late and you want to be well rested for tomorrow." Holly going to bed would be relieving in many ways, but for one, Cara wanted to be able to talk to Brooklyn about her situation without Holly there. She didn't have the energy for the questions, and it just felt like a topic that Holly didn't need to be bothered with.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens

0.00 INK

Image
Image

Some time before ten he found himself at the back of the M14 heading down West 14th St. towards Avenue D. It was an unusual location, not just because Avenue D was itself desolate, especially in comparison to the rest of Alphabet City which was far more gentrified and full of more things to do. There was no one place he went to all the time for his fights, but there were types of places where these things happened because they couldn't occur just anywhere. He'd gone to little clubs and bars, run down ones at that. Alleyways were common as well, but East Village? Not so much. Again, there was nothing there and he couldn't imagine where this could take place without there being a disturbance because not only was the street barren, but it was also pretty quiet. He couldn't afford any run in with the law, although it's not like that had stopped him from pursuing an occupation that was illegal on its own.

The brakes screeched as someone let themselves off. Roman kept his head pressed against the cool of the window, unmoving, but watched as the person carried along down the sidewalk until they disappeared from view. His eyes quivered closed before he forced them open for the umpteenth time. After meeting with Martinez, he'd gone back to the basement to rest for tonight. He wasn't really able to get into a deep sleep although his body had continued to crave for it as he tossed in a lethargic state of consciousness on his mattress. It had happened before and he got shit for it, but he could ride the bus forever. It was therapeutic in a way, especially later at night although it was still early enough for there to be a bustle. But he could just as easily fall asleep here too, and sometimes he came on just to get away. It wasn't often, but if he really just needed to feel like he was going somewhere, the bus provided that false perception. But now wasn't a time for escaping or even pretending to. He needed to stay awake so he wouldn't ride through the rotation. Killens lifted his head off the cool glass which had provided some relief to the throbbing in his temple. His stomach reminded him of his hunger. Initially this confused him, but then he realized that he really hadn't eaten anything except for some bread today. When he was stressed he had a tendency to lose his appetite. But what was there to be stressed about anymore? This was all routine. There weren't really too many surprises. Except for now of course because the pang in his abdomen was anything but expected. Perhaps he could find some place open on the way back, but there was no telling when that could be. Sometimes he was out for an hour and other times he was out all night.

As the bus entered East 14th, he played with the phone in his hands, somewhat hoping that it would begin to buzz with a call from Martinez telling him that Roman was no longer needed. It was sure to be a nuisance, but he really didn't want to do this. Really because he was feeling lazy and was still tired, at least that's all he would admit to himself. The bigger reason as to why he stared at his phone wishfully was because he was scared. It was dull by this point; he'd been doing this for so long, but he could feel it prodding at his feet that couldn't seem to keep still as he tapped it nervously against the ground. Of course, the phone remained silent as the bus turned right onto 140 and just moments later arrived to Avenue D. He waited until mostly everyone who was getting off had exited the bus before he finally stood up and took his time down the aisle, and then down the steps, and finally onto the sidewalk.