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Charity Louis

"I didn't dream of a life like this; No one does. But I'll do what I can with what I have."

0 · 826 views · located in Realistic

a character in “Kohana Creek”, as played by OurStars

Description

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"I didn't dream of my life being like this. No one does. But I'll do what I can with what I have."




Basic Info


ImageName:
"What's in a name?"
Charity Louis

Nickname:
"Clients call me Brandi."
N/A

Age:
"I feel much older than I am."
Twenty One

Likes:
"I like to experience the little joys when I can."
Hope (Her Daughter)
Naivete
Beaches
Climbing Trees
Sweet Tea
Salt and Vinegar Chips
Buying Hope Things
Privacy
The Rain
Guitar Music

Dislikes:
"I avoid them when I can, but sometimes they are unavoidable."
Nosiness
People Hurting Hope
Her Job
Cold Weather
Sleeping In
Charity "Please refrain from mentioning the irony."
Relationships "I don't mean to be jaded, but I have my reasons."



Appearance


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"Take a picture, it'll- actually, don't."
Charity is a rather beautiful young woman, with dark hair that has a soft curl to it and a relatively small face. Her eyes are a little on the droopy side, kind of like a puppy or someone who is feeling rather tired, and the arch of her dark eyebrows highlights this fact as they move slightly more upwards, creating a slightly larger-than-average gap between them. Those very eyes are a medium brown color with rings around the irises that are a deeper shade of brown, making the primary color seem much lighter than it actually is. Her ears are a bit smile, but are usually tucked beneath hair anyway and therefore rarely seen.

As far as her body goes, she is tall, standing at around 5'10", and has noticeable curves with wider hips and a narrow waste. After five years, she has lost any of her pregnancy weight, and keeps herself in good shape, though this is mostly as a requirement for her job. She has a medium bust, unremarkable really, and lean, tightly muscled arms and legs.



Secret



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"I'm not ashamed of who or what I am. But I don't want people to look at my daughter differently, or think me unfit."

Charity keeps it very much under wraps what she does in order to bring in the money she needs in order to support her family and keep her daughter. The only person who knows is the previous owner of the apartment building, who was incredibly understanding and kind about it, and would even check in the apartment when the woman was gone in order to make sure that Hope was doing alright. Charity doesn't want anyone to know what she does because she doesn't want them to look down on her, or think that she is an unfit mother- something that even she has been conflicted about before. There have been rumors, of course, but she says that she works the graveyard shift at a local chain store. She's very defensive about it all, though she despises her job quite thoroughly.



Personality


Image"So, this is me, I suppose."
Charity was a reckless young woman who faced terrible consequences for simply being young and impulsive. She doesn't regret her daughter, whom she loves with all of her heart, but regrets how early on she had the child. It forced her to grow up very quickly, and since then she has become the sort of person who tries to quell her more reckless side for the sake of her daughter. First and foremost, Charity is a mother- it is an integrated part of her that cannot be removed. She has become mature and protective, and would not hesitate to kill for her daughter if need be, or anything else that might be required. She has learned to put others before herself, something that a younger her would never have even thought about, and this has been a crucial part of who she is as a person. No longer can the young woman see a person in need and easily turn the other shoulder, because struggles have made her more sensitive to the needs and plights of others. When she sees someone who is in danger or needs help, she can't help but think of how she would want someone to act if it were her daughter in that situation, or how she felt when everything was completely uncertain and there seemed to be no one on her side but an infant. Experience has made her kinder than she was before, gentler even, and she is now the sort to give her lunch money to someone who looks like they haven't eaten for days, or stop and sit with a lost child for hours while they wait for their parents.

That being said, kindness does not equate stupidity, nor does it mean that she isn't willing to be cruel if it is for the sake of her daughter. It is simply harder for her to do it. She always makes sure to have enough money for the pair to get by, no matter what she must do to ensure that. Charity has become shrewd and alert, always remaining on her toes and watching out for any blip in the system. She is far more guarded than a first impression may give off, and is quick to draw a line between herself and another when she finds it to be necessary. The once careless girl is now incredibly careful about what she does, at least when it has something to do with her daughter. Her priorities are much more definite than they have ever been before, and she works hard and without complaint in order to keep everything together. The art of grinning and bearing it is something which she has trained in for the past six years, even when she has to take the saying 'bite your tongue' literally to keep herself from saying something she'll regret.

It isn't uncommon for that to be necessary, after all, because she is a naturally snarky sort of person, always ready to go back and forth with a person with ease. She isn't the sort to miss a beat, being quick-witted and resourceful. She knows how to adapt to her situation, and speaks the mind as much as she can, because otherwise she's afraid that she'll lose herself to secrecy. The woman tries to be honest to her daughter as much as possible, not liking the idea of filling her head with falsities, but at the same time wants to keep Hope as innocent as she can. It's a thin line, and often broaches her own code of honesty. Charity is constantly under a good amount of stress, as one would expect, and she distracts herself from this through sarcasm and conversation. Occasionally, she'll even let herself loose a little bit. These times, however, are few and far between.

Still, remnants of her younger self still exist, such as a love for rain and music. She can spend hours standing in the rain or strumming her guitar while her mind is a million light years away. She is a daydreamer at heart, though this is often covered by necessity, and is prone to sudden, foolish thoughts of impulse, which she will sometimes actually entertain. She likes to placate herself by imagining erratic adventures and allowing herself to just run away for a while, but these little dreams only add to the weight, because she is well aware that this is all they will ever be: dreams. One thing she never allows herself to daydream about is the past: that would be far too difficult for her to handle.

Daydreamer || Witty || Stressed || Cautious || Kind || Secretive || Determined || Single Minded || Mature || Shrewd



History


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Charity Louis was born into a suburban middle class family, the sort in which one gets everything they need and lives in mundane comfort. She was one of those children who, in elementary school, were known as the nerdy ones. Of course, this wasn't necessarily a bad one, for she was extroverted as well, considered to be among the popular kids in that young age. Her mother had taught her how to read before school began, so the girl was reading at a level above the other students. In kindergarten, she spent most of her class time in the teacher's office playing supplementary games or at a desk helping out those who were a little bit behind in their learning. All in all, she was a happy and outgoing know it all. Charity was the sort who would stick her hand into the air as high as she possibly could when she knew the answer, and dominated class discussions because she went on long tangents that prevented anyone else from speaking. The girl was one of those teacher's pets who aren't the ones following all of the rules, but the ones that can make their instructors laugh. She was bursting with confidence and had a talent for making the quietest of people speak. In fact, though she was considered popular, she preferred to hang out with the quieter groups. This might have been because they never tried to interrupt her rants, and the girl did have a fondness for long speeches.

When she was in fourth grade, Charity decided that she wanted to start a surfing team. She had grown up spending a good amount of time in the water, living on a military base in Kapaa, Hawaii. Upon deciding that she wanted to make a surfing team, she simply did. Of course, it was less of a team and more of a club, because they weren't exactly taking part in competitions. She had never been a competitive surfer, though some of her friends were in junior competitions. But things like that, spontaneously starting a surfing club, were the kind of things that she did. Bossy and confident, she wasn't the sort to hesitate before doing something. Of course, that changed when her family moved away, as her father left the military to work at an oil company in Saudi Arabia, the company being known as Aramco. When she moved there, she found that it was a good deal different than what she was used to. She was in sixth grade, but people were a lot more mature in various ways than she was used to. She managed to get on the wrong side of one of the popular girls, who invited her to a sleepover and pulled various pranks on her throughout it. After that, Charity became a lot less confident. She retaliated in a way suggested to her by, of all people, her mother. It was petty and trivial, but she managed to throw an event in which the girl was the excluded one. Afterwards, they became tentative friends, not really close but not willing to be enemies.

And there Charity grew up, on the company compound. A bus system took them anywhere on the compound they wanted to go, including pools, a movie theater, and little cafes. There were events to keep the youth busy, and one could even go outside the compound if they wished, though they were advised to be cautious if doing so. Charity never really left the compound though, because she saw no need to. It was a small world, but she was happy, even though she had lost her muchness from prior years. She was the sort to run for secretary, but never president. When her ninth grade year came about, Charity was sent to boarding school in France. This is a common practice, as it is required for the youth to go to high school outside of the compound and country. Girls had the option to be home schooled, but Charity rejected the opportunity. So she was packed up and sent to boarding school in France. There she began to become a bit more reckless, and peer pressure certainly didn't help. She took up weed, and was often invited out to parties by seniors. Perhaps she had a bit of a reputation, though it was a somewhat empty one. One night, at a party, she got drunk. Everything was a blur, but she woke up in her own bed, and thought nothing of it. One of her roommates had brought her back home. Well, she thought nothing of it until she missed her period. She kept it a secret, though, because her father had been fired and she didn't want to step on a bomb. They moved back to Hawaii for a new job, all of this happening within a month or two.

That was when she revealed her pregnancy, which she had been able to hide due to only barely showing. Her parents demanded that she have an abortion, enraged by the fact that their daughter had gotten pregnant. They were more concerned about their reputation than about her wellbeing, and that angered her. Impulsive and angry, Charity told them that she planned on keeping the child. As a result, they kicked her out of the house and told her to come back alone or not at all. So she chose the latter option. Charity moved to Honolulu and began to work, able to afford a tiny, rundown little apartment in the projects. It took most of her earnings to pay the rent, and when she had Hope money became even tighter. She worked several jobs at any given time, and had to keep Hope in daycare so that she could work to support them. There were times when she would go without a proper meal for days in order to pay for rent, electricity, plumbing, daycare, clothing, and food. It was far from a fairy tale, that much was true, but she kept at it for the sake of herself and her daughter, knowing that she had made the choice and had to keep going with it. Besides, she adored her daughter, with her blithe smiles and innocence. Charity couldn't bear the thought of not being able to take care of her. So she sacrificed her youth and beauty to dust and dirt while others her age were going to prom or getting ready for college.

When she was eighteen, around three years after she had left home, Charity was approached by a coworker who noticed how much she struggled for money, and the fact that she was rather attractive. This person recommended her to a job in which she could make more money than she currently was- stripping. Charity was hesitant, but desperation led her to take the offer. And it did pay somewhat better. Enough for her to begin saving up for a better apartment. After a year or so of saving money, she was able to make the deposit on an apartment in Kohana Creek, and moved in with Hope, who was then four years old. The old woman who owned the place was suspicious about the young mother, and eventually Charity reluctantly admitted her situation. Rather than judging, the woman was understanding and kind, even offering to watch Hope at night for her. Charity viewed her as an angel, and still does.

So she continues to live in Kohana Creek with her daughter, two years later. Hope is now in school, but luckily her teacher lives in the same building, and can walk Hope home when Charity is busy. Charity continues to work herself rather hard, but it isn't quite as much of a struggle as it once was. She makes enough money for she and her daughter to get by, and that's all that she has enough optimism to ask for at this point.



Hope Louis



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Name: Hope Sophia Louis
Age: Six
Grade: Kindergartner
Personality: Sweet, Naive, Adventurous, Careless, Understanding, Intelligent






Theme Song


Young and Beautiful || Lana Del Rey
[Verse 1]
I've seen the world
Done it all
Had my cake now
Diamonds, brilliant
In Bel Air now
Hot summer nights, mid July
When you and I were forever wild
The crazy days, city lights
The way you'd play with me like a child

[Hook]
Will you still love me
When I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I'm no longer beautiful?

[Verse 2]
I've seen the world, lit it up
As my stage now
Channeling angels in a new age now
Hot summer days, rock n roll
The way you play for me at your show
And all the ways I got to know
Your pretty face and electric soul

[Hook]
Will you still love me
When I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I'm no longer beautiful?

[Verse 3]
Dear lord, when I get to heaven
Please let me bring my man
When he comes tell me that you'll let him in
Father tell me if you can
All that grace, all that body
All that face makes me wanna party
He's my sun, he makes me shine like diamonds

[Hook]
And will you still love me
When I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I'm no longer beautiful?
Will you still love me when I'm no longer beautiful?
Will you still love me when I'm not young and beautiful?
In My Life || The Beatles
In regards to her daughter
There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

In my life I love you more

So begins...

Charity Louis's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Giselle Torres
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Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: Friday, September 17, 2013
Time: 8:21 P.M.
Temp: 74 F


The night was cool, breezy with the faint smell of saltwater. The rain had finally let up after three hours of nonstop sprinkling. By this time of the day the waves have calmed, but the tiding waves continue to cascade onto the bed of sand. Occasionally soaking a bolder or two. Honolulu is one the largest cities Hawaii has to offer, populated by many. Just under half a million believe it or not. So many different diversities intermix here but the culture remains rich. Visitors seemed to think the palm trees, clear beaches and warm weather hints to paradise. Some think of it as a sub-unit of Hawaii's paradise. The residents might say different. Contrary to belief... it rains a lot. Earthquakes aren't uncommon. Volcanic eruptions are nothing new although they are a not a threat, some are even made into visitor attractions. But that's on the outer skirts of town.

Bright luminescent lights braze the City. Large buildings loom over the streets of Honolulu. Though one building stands tall. Taller than the rest. Kohana Creek. It's one of those places that everyone knows about, seen or wishe they could live there. The tranquil environment is enough to draw any one in. Being right off the coast of the beach. The landlord Keilani Fergosa has spent o]over half of her life keeping this place in order. Going above and beyond to keep the tenants happy. But something tragic has happened. The wonderful woman that many knew well had a secret -- a secret she kept to herself for many years. Keilani Fergosa had developed lung cancer in her fifties. The doctors did all they could for the poor woman. And for a few short years things started to look up. Until just recently. Ms. Fergosa had been having problems with breathing. Her son, Ono took her to the doctor only to find the cancer once again spreading. Sadly, the doctors gave her only one year to live. She fought, and pushed out another two years but one night. Her heart gave out. The cancer had spread and Ms. Fergosa could no longer fight any more. Cancer had won.

Her son Ono found her a few days later, lying in bed. He debated telling the tenants but decided to keep things private until further notice. Ms. Fergosa also didn't tell anyone that she had been in a dispute between a wealthy man who wanted to buy Kohana Creek from her. This man, Alan Westbrook personally came to Hawaii to do what his lawyers couldn't. He'd admit she was a stubborn old woman, but he offered millions. Still she resisted.

But her deteriorating health made her reconsider what was best for her family and tenants -- friends. She knew if she died, her son Ono would be to busy to look after the complex properly. It saddened her that she couldn't keep it in the family. That building remained in the Fergosa name since she was a young girl. But the offer of money meant Ono would be taken care of and Mr. Westbrook assured he would do his best to keep everything the same.

Luckily for Mr. Westbrook, all the paper work had been finalized a day before her death. An unfortunate event for everyone... But they will soon learn that Keilani Fergosa had secrets.

And the tenants will soon learn.




We all have secrets. Whats yours?




Giselle Torres had lived on the twenty-third floor for nearly four years. It was home and she never dreamed of leaving anytime soon. Things were quiet, peaceful and over all a great place to live. These sort of thoughts usually swirl her head around this time. Her lease was almost up, much like the other tenants which meant signing up for another year would permanently decide her future. But who would want to leave in the first place. Close to the beach, gym, pools, laundry room. If it were possible to sign a three year lease she would.

Coming back from her thoughts, the woman saw that Finding Nemo had just ended. It was always so nice to watch this movie. Not only does it teach kids a valuable lesson of never going against your parents but Dori made her laugh every time. Little Hope had been sitting Indian style with her chin resting in the palms of her hands. Clearly deeply involved in the movie. Elle glanced down at her watch. 8:30 P.M. And just that time to start cooking dinner.

"Okay... how about you find us something else to watch while I... order something. Take out sound good?"

She unlocked the screen of her cell phone and began to hit the contact button. Chong's had been programmed in her phone since the day she moved here. They had the best Chinese food in town. And they were conveniently close so delivery was available. Elle recited the order, occasionally Hope would say what she wanted only to change it seconds later. But at last, the food was ordered and should be there in an hour.

"Did you find anything?" The brunette kneeled beside Hope as she skimmed through the movie collection. "How about this, The Lion King?" Before she could hear Hope's answer, a sound of movements from the door caught her attention. A small thud could be heard. It couldn't have been the delivery guy, or Piper or Ava. They always usually text before coming over.

"Hold that thought little one."

Setting the DVD down on the floor, Giselle went over to the door. She peered through the peephole but didn't see anyone. However, a paper attached to the door across from her caught her attention. Being somewhat curious and nosy all at once caused her to open the door. The first thing she saw was the own similarly formatted paper tapped to her door as well. She immediately went to snatch the paper off, her hazel hues scanning over the words.

"Dear Tenant,

As the landlord, I would like to inform you that a meeting for the floors 20-23 are called. The meeting will take place in the lobby tomorrow 9/18/13 at 8:30 A.M.. Very important news and information will be given so I strongly urge everyone to attend. Please take this note seriously. If you happen to miss the meeting for whatever reason then I advise you to either ask a fellow neighbor or visit the desk by Monday 9/20/13. Thank you everyone.

In regard, your Landlord.


Giselle flipped over the back but found it blank. Glancing down the hall, she heard a ding at the elevator which meant someone had just entered. All of the other doors also had noted on them. A text message was soon sent to her niece.

-Hey, Piper. Where are you? I just got some weird letter from Keilani about a meeting. Check your door when you get home-

The woman put her phone away and retreated back to her warm apartment. Giselle went into the hall where the AC/ heating tabs where. The temperature hadn't went up one degree since she turned the air on nearly an hour before they starting watching Finding Nemo. So she came into the living room and the saw that Hope had already put on a movie.

"Hey, kiddo. I'm gonna' go right across the hall to see if we can get this air working. I'll leave the door open." Elle smiled at the little girl. She was only going to let Mr. Granger know the air wasn't working which was no more than five feet away.

Elle left the door opened as she said earlier and went on to Mr. Granger's door. She let her hand knock only three times. Standard. Not to many but just enough to catch his attention.

The setting changes from Kohana Creek to The Gentlemens Club

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Charity Louis Character Portrait: Sebastian Gray
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Again, another Friday night in the bustling city of Honolulu. Concurrently Sebastian wore his signature smirk that had been permanently etched across his lips since he picked Eli up. The dynamic duo had just left her apartment after scoring some blow. Sebastian took a fatter line than usual but he needed it. The high of course. And his supplier, Sammy Sosa provided the best shit. Finding Sammy had been the single greatest thing since moving to Kohana... that and well... Piper. But that's another story. Tonight was all about Eli and Sebastian who felt like Elvis fucking Presley.

The pair walked down the street, where many of the hottest clubs and bars were located. Other attractive young adults could be seen with red plastic cups in hands. He shot Eli a follow my lead look as they approached the entrance of a strip club. Of course he knew she wasn't old enough to get in the club and was never any fun going to these places alone. A bouncer was standing outside of the door, dressed in all black. Sebastian roughly pulled Eli to him into a rather salacious kiss before pulling away.

He took her hand and sauntered over to the door where the bouncer stopped them

"Can I see some I.D. you two seem a little young."

Sebastian quickly reached in his pants pocket and pulled out his wallet. The man soon handed over his California Driver's License. The bouncer nodded before glancing at the blonde. Under false pretenses, he smacked his hand against his forehead. "Oh, yeah. Babe I forgot you lost yours on the plane. Too bad, I know how much you really wanted us to come here for our honeymoon... ah, well. Let's just head back to the hotel, the plane leaves at noon." Sebastian wrapped an arm around her slender waist as he set them back on the path.

The bouncer unfolded his arms and stared at the couple with a bit sympathy. He was married. He envied that his woman actually wanted to accompany him there. Releasing a deep sigh, reluctantly he stopped the pair.

"Hey! Hold up."The man waved them over. "Look, you guys go on inside and enjoy your honeymoon."

Sebastian offered the man a gracious smile after he nuzzled Eli's neck. Getting a whiff of the deliciously smelling shampoo she used. "Thanks, man. We really appreciate it." He brought his gaze back to his lovely 'wife'. "Mrs. Gray, after you."



Loud techno music blared off the walls. A large populace consisted of males gathered around the stage. Dark glowing lights lifted the club to an convivial atmosphere. This is exactly the place where they should be spending their high.

"C'mon. Let's get closer."

Once more did Sebastian lead her over to the stage, granting them another look of the current dancer. The young man retrieved his wallet again and puled out a few bills. A few singles and a couple of twenties. He handed Eli half the currency. "Use this wisely."

At first the woman only faced the front of the club, but as the blonde let one of the first bill go, namely the twenty, the woman stripper quickly switched gear. But something didn't seem right. That chick looked very familiar but it was still really hard to tell with the traveling lights.

"That chick looks real familiar..." Had he slept with her? No that couldn't be it.

One of waitresses was just about to pass by but Sebastian quickly got her attention.

"Hey, get the manager please."

The young Hawaiian woman nodded and quickly made her way to the back of the club.

"You up for a private show." He flashed the Eli a wink just as the manager and waitress made their way over to them. He was bald, short and stubby. It was a wonder on how some o those kind of men could own places like these.

"Is there a problem?"

"No... actually quite the opposite. Me and my fiancee here are having a blast but, I think we want a private showing. Five hundred for the hour?" He causally waved the hundred dollars bills in front of his face.

The man tried not to look pleasantly surprised but couldn't help himself. "Yeah, yeah we can arrange something in the VIP room. Money first, though. Did you just want a random girl or do you guys have a regular?"

"Actually, we do have someone in mind. Her." Sebastian pointed an selective finger on the woman still swaying her hips to the beat of the song.

"Oh, Brandi... yeah she's a favorite around here. Good choice. Alea, take these two the VIP room and bring them whatever beverage they want."

"Just 'Brandy' for me."



The waitress, Alea, brought them to the VIP room. A cold glass of Brandy in his hands, now all he had to was wait for the actual one to show up. "You know you could be a stripper. Bring in some good cash, buy me whatever I want." Sebastian set his drink down the table and placed his hands behind his head.

The setting changes from The Gentlemens Club to Realistic

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Charity Louis Character Portrait: Sebastian Gray
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Charity spends most of her day, as usual, reading, cleaning, and running errands of any necessary sort. Within half an hour or so after Hope has left for school, the apartment is spotless. It is hardly a difficult task, given that it isn't a particularly large flat, but can become five times the job when Hope is home. Her daughter isn't bratty, and doesn't go out of her way to cause mayhem, but she can occasionally be a bit messy. Especially when she wants to help her mom make dinner or something like that, but ends up spilling the food everywhere. Luckily, this isn't particularly common. As far as children go, Charity lucked out with her little angel, who is sweet and bright and, despite Charity occasionally spoiling her, not particularly snotty in any way. The rest of the day, or at least until Hope is home, Charity has to her own devices. So she goes grocery shopping, buys Hope a new DVD, and then returns home. Their small family doesn't require an excessive amount of food, but Charity does all of the main shopping on Friday every week, so there are still too many groceries for her to carry. Two paper bags are gripped against her chest by each arm, and though the hold is sturdy enough, they threaten to spill over. This is what I get for forgetting the cloth bags, she thinks with a slight frown. The woman eventually makes her way to the elevator, and once there places one of the bags on the floor for a moment. It's still preferable to plastic bags, of course, because those would leave red straps up and down her arms from trying to take all of them at once. It is a slow journey, for she treads carefully, but eventually Charity makes it to her apartment, miraculously manages to get out her keys without dropping the bags, and enters her home. It doesn't take too long for her to put away the groceries. She walks over to a soft but old couch and sits down, staring out the window and trying not to fall asleep.

The day is still fresh, and for the umpteenth time the young mother considers getting a second job, if only to occupy her time. It would be nice to have a little extra money on the side, as well. Still, she likes to be available in case something urgent comes up, which was part of her motivation in taking on a rather controversial field of work in the first place. She hardly became a stripper because she likes dancing topless for strange men. But she has her reasons and motivations, and thus she continues with the job despite wandering eyes and the occasional incident with a customer. Anyway, she would be constantly exhausted if she had a day and night job- something she knows for a fact from experience. And the manager at her place of work dislikes the girls being anything but fully energized. Sluggishness isn't attractive, and doesn't get customers. Still, maybe going back to school wouldn't be too bad. She could get her GED, maybe take a few online courses. Then she could get a better job to support her daughter with. One which she wouldn't be compelled to hide from everyone, including her own daughter.

Seeing the time, Charity stands up, keeping herself from sleeping. She hadn't gotten home until around five this morning, and afterwards slept for maybe an hour or two before waking up to make Hope breakfast. Honestly, the woman's time management could certainly use some work, as far as managing to sneak in sleep goes. Her only opportunity to sleep is while Hope is at school, but she feels lazy taking naps for seven hours in the afternoon, despite having a more than acceptable reason for doing so. She slips on a pair of old sandals that she has had for years and heads downstairs, probably looking rather exhausted. When she sees her daughter, however, some of that melts away a little bit into a smile. "Welcome home, sweetie! How was school?" she asks the little girl brightly, picking her up and twirling her around.

---

Several hours later, there is another person in the Louis department, someone who Charity has quite often viewed as a bit of a godsend. Giselle Torres, teacher to her daughter and a fellow resident of the floor, has arrived to save the day. It's around 7pm or so, and Charity needs to leave for work. Of course, to keep up the image of her actually having a normal job, she is dressed in black pants and a white button up blouse. Ms. Torres is here to watch Hope, as she does occasionally. More recently her aid has come very frequently, as Keilani has been sick recently, and hasn't had the energy or time to babysit. Charity doesn't mind this, of course, because she considers it a very large favor, especially as she had been doing it for free. Babysitter rates around here can be rather brutal, she's found. "Thanks again for watching Hope," the woman expresses her gratitude, leaning over and giving her daughter a big hug before kissing her on the forehead and making a silly face at the girl. She turns to Giselle and smiles warmly at her.

"I suppose you already know everything there is to know about watching her, from school and babysitting, but there is fresh fruit in the fridge if you'd like some. Feel free to take some home, as well," Charity adds, slipping on a pair of black flats and pushing a bag over her shoulder. The bag has her...work clothes in it. She gives a last wave to the two of them and leaves the apartment, keys in her bag. It is a short trip downstairs, where she gets into an old, rather beat up car that she was able to purchase relatively cheap. With that, she is off to work.

---

It is not Charity who works at the Gentleman's Club, a stripper club for men to...ease their tensions. It is Brandi-- something about using a different name, common practice for women in her line of work, gives some comfort. As though she can pretend to be another person, to distance herself from Brandi. Like people who give their drunk selves names so that they don't feel the same level of responsibilities for their actions. Of course, the effect is rather minimal, because she isn't the sort of person who would normally try and distance herself from her actions, and she isn't stupid enough to let something as simple as a name let her feel better. Still, maybe pretending that something so trivial as a name makes things slightly better will make it a bit less of a lie. Things can be less and more of a lie, after all. Saying with false conviction that one plus one is three is less of a lie than saying that it is the Empire State Building, after all.

So now she is not Charity, but Brandi. And Brandi isn't paid to worry about things like whether her daughter is doing alright or if the car has enough gas to make it home. Brandi is paid to dance and to allow herself to become a tool through which strange men can somewhat satisfy their lust. And maybe it isn't the best of jobs, but it will get a paycheck in her hand and a few tips, and that's all that Brandi has the luxury of being concerned about. So Brandi dances. And when someone slips her a twenty, Brandi moves a bit closer to them and dances, never looking them in the eyes. Shadows dance across her face and theirs, so that both parties have some level of anonymity awarded to them. This darkness, this unknown, provides more comfort than it should. Brandi, and Charity, for that matter, is not some child who is afraid of the dark and darts down hallways to the comfort of their lit bedroom. She has come to find solace in the discretion of flashing lights and large groups, which allow for so much more privacy than little ones do.

Still, there is something eerily familiar in the way the pair before her smile, and in their voices. And familiarity, in a place like this, is something that frightens the woman more than anything else. So she casually makes a point of not looking at them while she dances, focusing on other customers, though her gaze is never on their eyes, but on their nose or forehead. Eyes are another thing too intimate for her tastes.

---

"Brandi, private dance in the VIP Room," the manager tells her, not lingering for too long so as not to disturb the vision of the customers. Watching him walk away, the brunette frowns slightly, though she doesn't let it stick to her face. Private dances make better money, and there are less people staring at her. However, they also tend to feel even more degrading, somehow. Less lights and shadows to wear in place of the coverings that workers here must cast aside. Private dances allow no such modesty. Still, she nods and gets down from where she had been dancing, playing her role well enough. A smile here, a hand running across the chest there. Charity is a single mother with a precious daughter that she works hard to support. Brandi is a stripper who flirts and exposes for a living. Two very different sides of the same coin, kept apart by a thin ridged edge.

She reaches the VIP room readily, knowing it quite well. What Brandi does, she does well enough to have regular requests from guests. Well enough to be the one sent when the influential simply say 'surprise me,' as well. The woman enters in such a way so that her back is to the guests, her body facing towards the white door as she slides it completely shut. She turns her head slightly so that hair blocks her face. "You called?"

And then she makes the grave mistake of turning around, only to face two people that she certainly does not want to see. People she doesn't want to see because they are familiar and, as previously mentioned, familiarity is the last thing she wants here. For a moment, Brandi disappears and Charity takes her place, dressed in little more than a swatch of black cloth with sequins on it. Not exactly how she would like to be seen. Shit. Can I pretend I don't know them? Will they buy it? No, idiot. But we don't know each other well. Maybe it can pass. Just don't. . .don't.

The expression of shock is forcibly removed from her face, but the damage has most likely been done. And it isn't Brandi that's worried right now. It's Charity.

The setting changes from Realistic to The Gentlemens Club

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Charity Louis Character Portrait: Sebastian Gray
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A feeling of warmth came over his lap as Sebastian's hips were straddled. With either of Eli's thighs encasing his, he placed the palm of his hands against her relatively firm buttocks. Giving her gentle nudge to add more pressure to his groin. "That's what sweet dreams are made of, Eli." Sebastian only allowed his eyes to remain on hers for a second. Eye contact was never his strong suit even being that he somewhat respected Eloise. The confounded factors of letting a person know he regarded them usually showed weakness. And if he started to let Eloise think he was no longer n charge then things would soon turn complicated. More complicated than they already were.

He then felt a tug at the side of his pocket and locked down to find the locality of disturbance. The baggy of white, sulfur smelling powder was waved in front of his face. "A little nose candy before the show." Sebastian took the bag from Eli's grip. He opened the small plastic wrap and dug his finger inside, gathering up as much powder as he could. Quickly Sebastian sniffed the clutter of blow he collected. Allowing the faint tickle to graze his nostrils, the palette to his escape. Afterwards he plunged his finger into his mouth to allow the residue to coat his gums. Effectively numbing his mouth to help with the drip. Generously leaving plenty for her to dabble, he'd hand her the bag.

"What? I'm offended... Contrar to what you may believe, I'm not that easy." He placed a solid hand over his heart and furrowed his brows. "No, last Friday night was a saucy little blonde... she was a freak too... Ever heard of the Super-Woman? Me neither but it was interesting to say the least." He said, keeping the idea of trying it out on her at some point in time.

Loud music flooded in once the door was open only to be drowned once the door closed. 'Nice ass' Sebastian thought. A wide grin stretched across Sebastian's lip as he watched the nameless stripper turn to face them. "It's her." He whispered into Eli's ear before giving his undivided attention back to her.. the single mom.

"Well, I'll be fucking damned. I knew there was something I liked about you." He chuckled, more so a throaty laugh as he cleared his airway with a cough. "Yeah, you live in Kohana Creek... with the kid." For someone with a kid it would seem her morals weren't as austere as he initially thought. Clearly in disregards to her daughter. "Brandi was it?" Sebastian rubbed his still itching nose while using his other to wave her over. "I want you to dance for her while I watch." Biting his lower lip as he turned to look at Eli.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Charity Louis Character Portrait: Sebastian Gray
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Charity stares at him with an admirably even expression, somehow managing to gain the control to hide her expression of horror and embarrassment, even managing her breathing and focus in such a way so as to minimize any flushing that would otherwise be a certainty on her face. This is certainly not what she wanted out of today, and she is far too exhausted to deal with it, still running on those three hours of sleep from a good while ago. But luck isn't on the side of the woman, it rarely seems to be, as she faces perhaps the biggest tool in the building. His smug voice and throaty chuckle makes her want to slap him, but the woman has more control than that, and is accustomed to such expressions and tones. She is a stripper, after all, and what else can she expect from the customers here? It is hardly common to find courtesy from her patrons. Still, the recognition in his eyes magnifies it all, and she can practically see the judgment dancing across that dreadful face of his. Her face remains steely all the same, betraying as little as she possibly can keep back, including the contempt she feels.

However, when he refers to Hope as 'the kid,' something flashes across her face for a moment, and her muscles seem to tense very slightly, sudden anger replacing her embarrassment. The dismissive way in which he addresses her daughter isn't really helping to boost Charity's, for Brandi is now very much gone, opinion of him. And yet, looking over at his companion, Eloise, she recalls her name to be, helps Charity to restrain herself. Something about her embarrassed expression makes Charity feel ashamed, because the woman seems to be embarrassed for her sake. In all honestly, Charity isn't quite sure if that is entirely better. It is something that she can't fault Eloise for, but that makes the feeling of dread knot in the pit of her stomach like a snake that slithered around in a tight space until it was tangled up with itself.

Don't look at me like that, Charity thinks towards the both of them, as though the mental message can somehow transcend the gap between them. It seems particularly aimed towards the faultless Eloise. I'm not ashamed. I'm supporting myself and my daughter, the thoughts sound more as though she is telling herself something, but they aren't entirely a lie. Charity would rather be doing this and supporting her family than forcing her daughter to live on the streets, or having Hope taken away from her forever. This is the far more favorable alternative, as far as Charity is concerned. Don't pity me. That much she must allow Sebastian, in all of his sliminess. He does not seem to pity her. It hardly makes up for his personality in general, but somehow it is more bearable. For once, the familiarity of it is good- because unapologetic slime balls, she can handle. Looks of pity and embarrassment, on the other hand, she cannot.

"I want you to dance for her while I watch." Charity doesn't look either of them in the eye, but her gaze slides over towards Eloise, as though waiting for some sort of reaction. She focuses on her nose, but for the briefest moment allows her eyes to flicker up to meet the girls', which are so filled with remorse and disgust. Disgust that seems to quickly turn towards Sebastian as even Charity can see the invisible line she seems to draw between the two. That simple look holds such emotion that Charity feels as though she is invading her privacy simply by standing there, and that makes her hyperaware of her makeup and hair, which are so foreign to Charity, even if Brandi knows them well.

In a flash, the blonde girl is standing and sweeps out of the room in a silent motion, brushing Charity to the side and shutting the door so that Charity is left alone in the room with him. She turns towards him slightly, body angled away, her eyes focusing as though she is looking at something just behind him, or is staring straight through him. "Her name is Hope," Charity murmurs, before finally meeting him in the eye briefly, her gaze defiant for that moment. "Not that kid," she adds for clarification, returning her gaze to stare straight through him as though he is not there. As though she is alone in the room.

The setting changes from The Gentlemens Club to Realistic

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Giselle Torres
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Elle had hoped she wasn't being to forward by asking Matthew to stay for dinner. Although he did truly deserve it. And her mother always taught her to take care of the man who looks after the household, however she was sure when Maria said 'man' she meant husband and not the maintenance man. By the way things were going finding a husband wouldn't happen anytime soon because the once thoughtful loving man that stole her heart hadn't been the same behind closed doors. Giselle glanced over to Matthew, still so quiet. He still appeared to not be comfortable with being in her presence. The vacant state on her features making her look lost in a dimension of confusion. Coming too, she realized she had still been staring at him for a while and lowered her eyes to the table before shoving chopsticks full of rice into her mouth. Hoping that he didn't find that weird. Finding something to excuse herself, anything that would delineate her to leave the table. 'Right, drinks!' Standing up from her seat she offered the explanation, "I'm gonna' get some drinks, be right back." The woman migrated over to the kitchen to retrieve a few cans of soda. She returned and placed one by everyone's table side.

Diner seemed to be going great until she suddenly felt bile rising in her throat. That nauseating, god forsaken feeling which started occurring more often than she wanted. She tried to ignore it, swallowing back roughly and placing a hand over her mouth while using the other to poke at the shrimp fried rice. But the smell turned into something horrid rather than the saporous scent first welcomed. However, ignoring it this time wouldn't work. Giselle new it was coming so she scooted her chair away from the table again which gained everyone's attention in the process. "Excuse me." Alibiing herself, Elle rouse from her seat with urgency and headed out into the living room to reach her bedroom, wanting not to alarm anyone.

.......................

Down the hall, sitting on the wintry adamant flooring was Elle, gently wiping her mouth with a washcloth. Giselle closed her eyes while leaning her head against the edge of the cold porcelain bathtub. She shivered exceedingly on the account of her exposed legs being subject to floor. For the last past week she found it easier to ignore, to forget all about the miniature problem growing inside. And yet her mind couldn't wrap around the fact that for the next eighteen years her life could possibly include financial, emotional and physical responsibility of another human being. Taking care of herself hadn't been the easiest thing. Giselle came to realization that she would never want to be in this situation alone. An abortion seemed probable and for plausible reasons -- she could at least count them out. But as she tried to scrape together all the logical defenses her intellect was there to adjourn the proceedings. It was frustrating not being able to come up with a justified answer while trying to piece together the puzzle that was her cognizance. After gaining more of her strength, she stood up, pulled down her shorts and moved over to the sink. Facing herself in the mirror wasn't as easy at it looked -- especially after those sort of thoughts crossed her mind.

'Don't judge me.' She told herself. Giselle reached for her toothbrush, squeezing a generous amount of toothpaste over the bristles and began to polish her mouth. 'It wouldn't make me a bad person... would it? Every so often she'd return the brush under the running tap before reinserting it to her mouth. The abhorrent aftertaste steadily being replaced by a minty tang. 'Lot's of people women do it...' She continued to stare at herself through the reflecting glass. She was tired; it showed. Everything from the frown marking her lips to the drowsiness faceted in her eyes. 'It'd be like nothing ever happened.' There was a sense of loneliness and sadness placed in them, but she had no one to blame for it except herself. This short lived pregnancy was begging to take a toll on her. Never did she imagine it to be like this, it felt more like a deadly sickness instead of a miracle. 'My life could go back to normal.' Keeping her sight on the mirror for a few seconds longer, she finally lingered over to the door and pulled it open. 'No one would ever know.' The false smile falling into place as she re-entered the dining area. Giselle took her original seat, her appetite clearly gone. She glanced up an offered Hope a bantam smile.

"Matthew?... You wouldn't happen to know anything about the notes? I mean Keilani has never left notes in the past."

But could she live with the disgrace?






Not that he was an complete ass, just the ongoing usage of cocaine was beginning to take a toll on his behavior. From him being his usual smart-Alec self to his sarcastic and somewhat vulgar humor, one could say Sebastian wasn't himself. That last intake of 'white girl' delivered the final blow in pushing him overboard. Had he have been sober this whole scenario might have went a little differently, perhaps he'd felt inclined to let the stripper go. Nothing though could have prepared him for when Eloise got up and left the room. At first he figured the blonde to be getting more familiar with Brandi but when she continued past her, a look of disdain crossed his features. "Where the fuck are you going Eli!" Making sure to add an extra hint of acrimony on the word 'fuck'. Quickly jumping up from his spot on the sofa, Sebastian yanked open the door to yell out another malevolent locution. "Yeah well fuck you too, Eli!" Causing a few of the patrons to turn back in his direction. Instead of furthering his direct vivacity on the AWOL female, Sebastian chose to close the door with what little bit of nobility he had left.'Look at you, screaming after some 'bitch' -- using the word as an connotation of his annoyance with Eloise and not a insult of character. His articulation may have not been the best choice of airing his feelings, but he was never one to have complete control over his emotions to begin with.

Pitifully he returned back to his spot on the sofa, sinking down lower than his mental equilibrium had already done to him. "Her name is Hope, not that kid," The words... that voice almost like an echo through the entire relatively small lounge room. Sebastian brought an angered hand to rest at his mouth, covering the downward curvature of his lips. He wasn't happy. And hearing Brandi correct him on the mentioning of her child did little to calm his nerves. Of course he could put up a facade, a pseudo stature like he always did but he was too far gone. Even now, being alone in a room with a beautiful woman such as she, able to comfortably look over all her curves without seeming perverted immoral. Sebastian had just felt taken advantage of. Here he was risking himself by sneaking Eloise into this club, going so far as to make sure she received a private show and this is how she repays him. By getting up and walking off. "Hope..." A unparalleled name for such an unparalleled girl. "Cute... cute kid." The sand-haired man turned his head off to the side. Six hundred buck practically down the drain, his high officially ruined now turning into an salient aggravation.

"Can you believe that... show a lady a good time -- provide her with a beautiful woman such as yourself and what does she do? Break my balls. Nah, I don't need that shit. Girls like her come a dime dozen." Still upset by the matter at hand, Sebastian concluded that he would just have to handle Eloise at a later time. He returned his attention back to Brandi, a step in the right direction as his conscience was no longer referring to her as 'the stripper'. "You must see a lot of real slime balls coming in and out of here. And you're probably standing there in that glittery little outfit thinking the same thing about me." Sebastian rose to his feet, his facial semblance a bit callous as he took tantalizing steps forward, guiding Brandi backwards until he was sure her back had met the wall. Gazing down at the radiant ivory-skinned woman, Sebastian imagined leaning in, seizing her lips to a chaste kiss but knew it would only result in two things. One; getting slapped and two; being escorted out by one of the bouncers. But a want to release his cardinal urges passed over yet he knew this woman wouldn't be willing and that peeved him. The tilting of his head to meet her eyes, the lowering of his voice to get his point across. "But don't fucking judge me, okay. You don't know me and I don't know you." He whispered into her ear, his warm breath caressing her ear, the sweet smell of fragrance scenting his tickled nose. The young man leaned up from the proximity of the woman, lids drifting lowly over his bloodshot eyes. "So, as far as I'm concerned... you're still that chick from Kohana Creek with the kid..." In his somewhat hazily state of mind, Sebastian whisked a loose strand of hair away from her forehead. "See you around, 'Brandi'."

Once again the uncontrollable stentorian music percussed him in the face once he opened the door. He chose to leave Brandi. Maybe it had something to with knowing he was no longer in control of the situation after Eloise had taken off or just his way of coming down from his high. But now he needed to get out there, out of that small room and away from this. Sebastian closed the door behind him, a part of feeling upset that Eloise had actually disappeared with the cash and coke he had given her. "Fuck it." The man headed over to the bar and took an empty seat and lifted a finger at the bartender, indicating that he wanted a drink. "Bourbon, double"Sebastian turned in his chair, eyes darting over to the center stage where he saw a blonde-haired girl dancing. And then finally finding two familiar individuals, one being Mr. Blackwood, the boss of his best friend. The other as the guy who always where's suits. 'Sam-something'. He turned back just s the bartender set out his drink. So long for the perfect Friday night.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Giselle Torres
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"I don't. I mean, I just got my note too. That really doesn't seem like her... I hope there's nothing wrong."

Elle had been long done with her food, by this point she only sitting at the table because everyone else was still eating. From time to time she would take a sip of the soda. The bubbly acids gliding down her throat in the hopes of calming her stomach. It was about that time for dinner to conclude concisely. She had hoped Matthew enjoyed his time. A constant coming from Piper was enough to let her know she had questions. Giselle went over several excuses...'the food was bad' ...'she ate to fast'. Several pragmatic reasons on why she left the table could be put to use. But she hoped Piper minded hers. Bad enough the grotesque thoughts of killing her unborn child maneuvered into her mind. Oddly, the idea of lying to her young niece aghasted her. However, what was she supposed to say? 'I'm pregnant Piper but I'm thinking of having an abortion.' What would she think of her? The sense of being judged is what ultimately kept the arcane concealed.

The sound of the familiar voice startled her, and caused Elle to look up Piper's direction. "I'll do the dishes." 'Thanks Piper'... Had she just answered her niece in connotation. "Oh, thanks Piper" The woman replied, watching as her niece rose from her chair and began to clear the table. It was definitely a relief that she wouldn't have to deal with the ablution of the dishes. She surrendered a genuine smile, at least one she had a purpose for having. Elle glanced down to her wristwatch finding that it was getting a bit late, Charity would be here for Hope in approx. an hour and a half. After that, it was smooth sailing with the bed and the pillow.

"Oh, uh, thanks for the dinner, by the way. I'll just..." Matthew's quiet voice sounded off. Those were departing words, well, words to prepare for his take-off. Not that it bothered her, she just didn't feel that he enjoyed his time. He was one of those types of men that kept to himself and it was clear he was out of his comfort zone. After only speaking to him a few times, all of which related to the maintenance, it was still obvious that his nature was...reserved. So saying that she expected him to start going inhumane -- jumping off tables was out of the question. Yet, Elle worried about him. Worried about him in an felicitous way the appropriated whatever 'friendship' they had; if it was even a friendship at all, more so neighbor-ship. Either way, there was something about him that riveted her. And it had absolutely nothing to do with gender indifference but just sensing peculiar vibes from him. Though there he was, sitting throughout dinner occasionally fumbling with the chopsticks and evading any sort of eye contact.

She planned to respond, to put a end to his terror which meant he could leave whenever he pleased. But little Hope beat her to the punch. Well in this case, she didn't actually deliver the final blow. "Hey Mr. Matthew, we could play a game. It's gonna be fun, I promise!" That sweet angelic voice somehow returned her back to the present. Elle could only imagine what Hope wanted to play. Monopoly? Candyland? Any board game known to man, Hope knew, and played quite well seeing as she beat Elle on several occasions without even letting her. "Ooh, could you get the bag, please!" Though that wasn't until she heard the little girls next words. 'That bag'. The bag Elle had made for Hope whenever she visited and wanted to play dress-up. It contained brushes, blushes, various lipsticks, eyeliners and mascara. Every now and again would the woman need to bring out. Lately Hope had been satisfied with just watching movies. But seeing as she had a new prospect, Elle understood. The Cuban looked over to Matthew, a sort of glint in her eyes. She never had to say 'no' before to Hope. A part of her never felt comfortable with denying anything for her. Mathew could always say no to helping her dress up. "Go ahead, Hope. You know where it is." She said. If all fails, Elle could always substitute for him although she knew just as well as Hope that it 'wouldn't be the same.' Once the little girl had pranced out of the room, Giselle stood up and asked for Matthew to follow. "C'mon... I'm sure she'll drag you in here either way." Elle stated, now leading him back into the leaving room. Her bottom yet once again met the soft cushions of the sofa. "She's an enthusiast." A good kid she was....a real good kid. Yet she felt somewhat sorry for whatever Hope had in mind for Matthew.






Sebastian sat there on the tall bar stool almost waiting for something to happen. Perhaps he was waiting on Eli to come running in, begging on her hands and knees to be forgiven or even waiting for the beautiful stripper to come out and unveil her undying want to please him. It's not like he hadn't already paid for it. Just sitting there at the bar, gorging on drink after drink started getting old. An old Hawaiian man sitting on the right of him kept going on how his son had came out of the closest and how he'd never get those grandchildren he wanted. It was all real nice. But suddenly someone bumped into him, not just anyone but Mr. Blackwood. Sebastian just didn't have the time or apparatus to be bothered. No, he had other fish to fry. A blonde haired fish. However, he did finish nursing his current cup of Jack Daniels before standing abruptly. "Your old man must be real proud... I won't be bringing my son here anytime soon." The older man sulked in his misery created by himself. His son's sexuality shouldn't reflect on the man's distress. Instead he should be there for him. "That blows... I feel real bad for you- your son. I feel bad that he has to put up with such an asshole for a father." Of course that comment had earned him an hostile stare but it was unwarranted. The young man simply tossed two 'twankies' on the counter and made his way out.

......................

Instantly the cool air brought forth a new sense of unfounded revelations. The bar had become quite stuffy, in fact constricting and Sebastian knew if he didn't get out of there when he did then something bad was going to go down. As much as he tried, the anger just wasn't disappearing. If anything the alcohol did little to calm his nerves. He began to walk... Not really sure where he was going but one thing was certain, he was intoxicated. Shit-faced actually, a perfect time to revel in some blow. Subconsciously he dug his hands into his pockets, finding it absent of a certain bag. "Where the hell-" Couldn't have been the club -- until the quick memory of being in the VIP room with Eloise in the form of a flashback. "A little nose candy before the show." The visage of him passing Eloise the bag after taking a line dealing of drugs.Returning back to his current state of mind led him on a different route. He was livid. His steps quickened, displaying pure asperity. Sebastian clenched his hands so tightly that they were turned achromatic. Taking his money was one thing, but taking his drugs... oh they were playing in a completely different ball park all together. Eloise had fucked up, little did she know.

Sebastian hit the elevator button twice before it finally opened on it''s hinges. Just a few more seconds until he reached the twenty-third floor. He shook his head, his mentality was offset. But surprisingly, he was scared. Scared because he didn't quite know what he would do. Dusty blue eyes were brought down to investigate his shaking hands. That sort thing happened lately, more so because his usage with cocaine began to increase ever since he started hanging out with Eloise. The things he told her, the things he did to her and now what? He was starting to feel abandoned though deep down he would never admit to it. Lately his best friend Severin had been too busy with work and Piper to spend time with him. If only he knew... His own father was to caught up with work and his wife to attend to his own son. Sebastian never took to well to being alone. Not that it was anything brand new. Ding!The doors to the elevator slid open. A quiet sophisticated hall came into view. His first steps off the elevator was sealed after he past by his own door, not paying any mind to the notes plastered over several doors. Instead, Sebastian continued until he reached the last door of the hall. Eloise.

He almost had a hard time at getting his breath under control. For a while he simply stood there staring at the number 1109 branded into the door. A constant battle brewing in his mind over going through with this or not. Certain scenarios playing out in head. "Bitch deserves it." He mumbled under his breath. 'Fuck it' He placed a hand over the doorknob and another onto the door as he applied his full weight. Without really giving it much thought, he slowly turned the knob. One could only imagine the expression on his face after it continued to turn. A sinister grin formed over his lips as all he could think was how stupid she had to be for leaving her door open. Entering her apartment brought the heart-stopping thrills coming with breaking and entering. As he slipped past the threshold, quilted brightness casted the living room. But he had been here times before so it didn't matter either way, light or not. Sebastian quietly closed the door behind him, only allowing a almost soundless click to be heard. Everything seemed to be in place. Her art books, camera, magazines and what have you. A hiccup passed through his lips when began to descend further into her apartment. Rounding down the hall to her bedroom... that's where she kept the 'good' shit.

The door to Eloise bedroom slowly crept opened. A figure slid in between the crack. Standing with her back facing him was Eli as she appeared to be straightening up her bedsheets. He glanced over to her nightstand and then to the vintage clock sitting on top of it. 10:40 P.M. Enough time had already been wasted. Without further adieu, he began to move. If it wasn't for the vexation with her then he might have took this in another direction but that was not the case here. Sebastian grabbed a hold of Eli, nearly knocking her to the ground. Large hands were brought to her neck while pushing her back onto the bed, effectively wedging himself in between her legs. He wrapped them around her throat, applying just enough pressure to alarm the young woman. "Don't scream... don't fight..." He glanced down into her mesmerizing blue hues. "You know what I could do you... Do you know, Eli!" He bellowed into her face. "I could hurt you... but you know what? I won't." Sebastian tightened his grip around her slender neck. "But you know better than to fuck with my shit. I told you not to play games with me." Pause. "Cause I can make living here hell for you and you know that." His voice softened, considerably.

"I don't wanna' hurt you, Eli but your gonna' make me do something I'll regret. Now, go get my shit." Sebastian released the hold on her throat and grabbed by the arm, snatching her up off the bed. "Where is it?" He clutch the bed sheets along with snatching them off. And then he moved over to one of the drawers, pulling it open and rummaged through it. Throwing panties and bras out behind him. After emptying it he pulled it out of the socket completely. "Where the fuck is my shit!" Again his tirade continued. Ripping open draw after drawer and throwing them down until he found nothing. The longer Sebastian continued the more it looked as if a hurricane had manifested. Obviously he was fed up, it was evident when he went back over the blonde and pushed her against the wall. He brought his hands to her face to cup her cheeks. "You have about three seconds... two..."

The setting changes from Realistic to Kohana Creek

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Giselle Torres Character Portrait: Charity Louis Character Portrait: Sebastian Gray
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Charity is watching Sebastian carefully now, cautious because she sees the signs of drugs in his eyes and in the little bag that had been hanging out of Eli's pocket. Given that his mood is likely volatile at the moment, and that he has just screamed at the back of the retreating blond, body half outside of the VIP room with a look that Charity has learned to see as a warning sign of sorts- stay away. Alarms are blaring in her head, because she has dealt with volatile, drugged up customers before, and they are very rarely the most reasonable of people. Some are overly affectionate, and break into a sobbing mess at the slightest hint of disapproval. Others were simply giddy, looking but never really seeing anything. Despite her disdain for drugs of all sorts, those are the sort she prefers. Then, there are the angry types, who are likely to wrap their hands around a girl's neck and strangle her against the wall, hardly even hearing the screams which fade as oxygen leaves the body. She must be careful, as Sebastian may very well be the final sort of the three, and Charity is likely the most cautious of all the girls who work here. She has good reason to be, after all. Not that several of the others don't- Angelica, who goes by Angel here, has an ill mother and baby brother that she is currently supporting while simultaneously still attending high school. Heather, know as Harley, works to pay her way through college because she never had any other real option. These are people just as careful as Charity, and people that she respects. But Angel is now wrapping herself around a pole and Harley is flirting with a customer. Neither are here in this room with her.

She is surprised, in fact, when he responds to her, calling Hope cute. Then again, those brief interactions which she has witnessed between the two were ones in which he seemed tolerable enough, though Hope claims that the man smells strange and generally doesn't go running into his arms in the hallway. Yes, Charity agrees with him in respects to her daughter, though the thoughts go unspoken, Of course she is.

However, any semblance of decency that he might have had the opportunity to show there is waved away like a small dust cloud in the air as the young man proceeds to complain about Eloise, berating her as a dime a dozen and such. Charity's eyes narrow very slightly at that, because she hardly faults the young woman with running away. Besides, the blonde woman seems to be a far better human being than Sebastian. Not that Charity can necessarily boast of being a perfect being herself, or of being a flawless judge of character. In fact, there is no end to the list of flaws that Charity can probably point out about herself, despite what others might see. After all, people see what they want to see, and everyone is just a little paper person, a two dimensional character, as long as that fits the needs of the one looking. She is, naturally, no exception to this.

Her attention is ripped back to the young man when she notices him moving, advancing on her with little warning until she is against the wall. The woman hadn't even realized that she was backing up until the cool, painted wall touches the back of her neck. Rational though she is, Charity's first instinct is to step on his foot -not a small attack, given her heels- and elbow him in the gut. As a general rule, when working she is the one to move closer, not the customer. This suits her far better, as it gives her the control, despite being under their payment for the moment. He is shorter than her, by no more than an inch, and her heels allow her to tower over him by a good four inches. All the same, he has backed her into this corner, and her first thought is of retaliation. But she is still as he hisses at her, berating her for the concept of judging him with a sneer on his pampered face. His breath is hot and uncomfortable on her ear, the feel of it giving her a sudden urge to take a shower.

By the time he finally backs away, admittedly just before Charity is about to step on his foot, the man's eyelids are flying at half-mass. What he says seems less like an insult and more like a promise, though, and she can't pretend that it isn't a promise she likes. Still just being the single mother who lives in Kohana Creek suits her perfectly fine, after all, because it is who she far prefers to be. A shiver runs down her spine when his hand brushes over her forehead to move the hair out of the way, but it is more out of surprise than anything else. Soon he is gone, still looking rather angry, and Charity is left in the room, planning to remain there as long as possible until the manager pulls her out. He does eventually, of course, and by that point the young man is gone, and the only other two people that she would recognize are out of sight, sitting outside.

"You can go now, anyway, the manager informs her, having to crane his neck to look up at his employee. Charity nods without a word, glad that he tends to cycle girls more on Fridays and Saturdays, to keep things 'fresh', as he likes to put it. The woman goes to the locker room and changes into normal clothing before sneaking into the dingy restroom reserved for employees and scrubbing off the layers of makeup on her face. When she is done, her face has a pinkish tinge to it from the scrubbing, as she had been more energetic about it than usual. She brushes her hair down, and suddenly looks like the sort of person you wouldn't see on the bad side of town- let alone working there. This is how she prefers it.

A drive brings her back to the apartment building, content with the knowledge that Hope probably had a wonderful time with Ms. Torres. Other than that, her stomach is gnawing with hunger, and she desperately desires a shower. This is a common want after work, as though water and soap can wash everything away and leave her a perfectly mundane single mother. That single mother is making her way towards Giselle's apartment, to fetch her daughter, when she heard shouting coming from Eloise's room. Rather than going to see what is the matter, her first instinct, especially at the sound of thudding, is to hurry towards Hope's location. And so she does, reaching Giselle's door and knocking on it four times before stopping and waiting patiently. It's getting rather late, and she'd prefer to have Hope in bed by now. Of course, she often falls asleep at Giselle's, and needs to be carried back to her own bed.

"Giselle? It's Charity," she adds, realizing that all of the noise might have made those within the apartment slightly wary of letting people inside.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Giselle Torres Character Portrait: Charity Louis
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Elle nodded at Matthew' sweet words, directed to the beautiful young girl. She wanted to smile but her body was just to tired though the muscles controlling her lips would rather stay cemented. Although lately the woman had felt exhausted more often, it was a bit uncommon for her to feel such fatigue. After a long day both a work and attending to Hope separately, one would expect to appear worn out. But combining it with the clandestine parturiency and just her normal cycle of everyday life, something would have to give. Of course taking some time off from beholding Hope could be helpful, yet if she decided to go through with it then may be it would be a good idea to continue. Giselle had learned so much already, knowing the ends and outs of caring for a child outside of her job. Job. Somehow her views had began to change and her career in education no longer appealed to way it did once. Concurrently, everything was staring to become a job.

Perhaps, underneath all the niceness and kindness was a selfish woman. A self-centered person who she never wanted to succumb to. Although it wasn't even a conscious choice to start thinking only of Elle. Most of her life she's looked out for the benefits of others. Never asking questions, never second guessing anyone. But now, Elle had grown quite self-absorbed with her thoughts lately -- never-mind her actions. Selfish because she had kept her lips hermetic in the reasoning for not telling Sage right away. Or maybe she was selfish because lately Elle no longer desired to partake in what use to be a fulfilling job. But there was no room to think only of herself. She had another potential human being to make ultimate life-threatening decisions for. And her jurisdiction was still clouded.

When Hope returned to back into the room, she had only expected her to want Matthew to make her over not the other way around. "I'm gonna dress you up, and then you gotta dress me up!" Ay Dios Mio! The Cubana mentally cringed as she sat there trying to think of a way to tell Hope politely that this game wasn't a good idea. The words 'Maybe we should play another time, it's getting late' would have sufficed. But before she could open her mouth and contribute to Matthew's aid, Hope had already sealed his fate. "Alright, you have to smack your lips together Mr. Matthew." Her mouth slightly fell ajar, and she immediately felt a sense of panic rise in her body. Surely Hope didn't understand but little did she know that with each swipe of eyeshadow, more and more of his masculinity was being swept away. "I think w-" She trailed of with her words after hearing a sort of commotion from down the hall. At the moment Piper came into room. "What was that?" She had no idea, but whatever it was it had frightened Hope. "...Maybe it was..." "Maybe someone should go check." She could understand his concern but thought it would be better not get involved especially since a child was under her care. "I, um, wouldn't worry about it. Now, how about the, ah, the mascara?" "Probably someone moving around some furniture." Elle tried to reassure the little girl. hoping that she went for it. It was a slight relief to hear Mathew exclaiming that he wanted to continue but she figured it to be time to put a end to his terror.

"No that's okay... it's getting late and your mom will be here any minute." Elle stood up from her spot on the sofa and went over to help Hope collect the contents left outside of the bag. As she was kneeling beside Matthew, she made no effort in even trying to look him in the eye. How could she? Bad enough she seemed to have forced him to dinner, now he had this to deal with being painted over by a six-year old. No way could she even take a glance in his direction. Once the items were safely back into the bag and zipped up, she sat that bag onto the coffee table just as the sound of four consistent knocks followed by Charity's muffled voice. "Giselle? It's Charity. Elle lifted herself out and offered Hope a smile, not sure if she were happy that a good night sleep had become that much closer or because Hope would be back in the loving arms of her mother. Either way it was pleasant. The brunette headed over to the front door and opened it with purpose. The first thing she noticed was the bareness of her face. A slight, sweet yet spicy smell that emanated from the woman. Fixing her face accordingly, Elle opened the door and called out for Hope. "Guess who's here Hope." Turning back to Charity, she had just remembered what she planned on giving the woman. "Oh, hang on. I have something for you."

Giselle headed back into the kitchen and grabbed the one untouched bag from the counter top. Not that it was originally set aside for Charity, Elle knew that for time being she never wanted to look at another plate of Chow Mein or Sesame Chicken again. Retuning back to the living room, Elle only stopped to share a few words with her niece. "It's getting late Piper, you should get home, and thanks for cleaning up, your a life savor... oh and don't forget about the meeting." She continued to the front door, and offered Charity the bag. "We got take-out. This is for you." Elle said, slightly holding up the bag and moving it in her direction. Her thoughts began to quickly formulated a quick to-do list. After getting Hope to her mother, she'd kick Piper out; in the nicest way possible, apologize deeply to Matthew with the offering of removing the amalgamation of powders and paste off of his face.




The setting changes from Kohana Creek to Realistic

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Giselle Torres Character Portrait: Charity Louis
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Hope, a little confused and a little scared, waited patiently for what ever made the noise outside to reveal it's self. Everyone in the room began to make small comments on it, which only made her suspicion grow. Hope, never in her life would want to go check out what ever noise it was. But.. still, she might have done it if there weren't so many other adults around that were able to do it themselves.

"I, um, wouldn't worry about it. Now, how about the, ah, the mascara?" Little Hope heard Matthew ask. Hope turned her back towards him and almost answered with a big 'Yeah', But Giselle beat her to it. "No that's okay... it's getting late and your mom will be here any minute." Hope's smile faded a bit at the news, but the realization that her mother would be home soon put butterflies in her stomach. "Alright, but Mr. Matthew owes me a make-over." Hope stated, glancing back at him with a little smug face. Giselle got down beside the two of them and began to pick up some of the make-up pieces, putting them back into the sparkly pink bag. Hope instantly got down and did the same, picking up the pieces all at once then dropping them into the bag all together. Soon the area was cleaned up and Hope began to get a little bored again.. until a few certain abrupt noises caught her attention.

"Giselle? It's Charity." Hope heard her mother's voice through the door. Oh, such excitement grew inside of her as Giselle got back up, shared a smile and went to answer the door. Hope stood up too, not to go to the door but to go fetch her backpack. It just had the few things the girl might need; A small change of clothes, a coloring book she got from Eloise, those kinds of things."Guess who's here Hope." Giselle asked in a tone suggesting that Hope already knew. Hope grabbed her bag out of the kitchen and briskly made her way back to the front door. "Mommy!" She shouted gleefully, running past Giselle and into her mother's arms.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Giselle Torres Character Portrait: Charity Louis Character Portrait: Severin Macer
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#, as written by Issa
Piper Torres


The others in Giselle's flat were more inclined to ignore the strange sound. Piper was plenty happy to push the sound to the back of her mind, she guessed it was probably just someone dropping plates next door or, as Giselle had suggested, someone moving furniture.

She turned her attention fully onto the other three and, immediately had to turn back around. A grin split across her face and she forced herself not to laugh, although she was sure that the odd giggle escaped and she had to hug herself to stop her shoulders from shaking. Mathew's face was a stunning art work of bright pinks and purple, Hope's small make-up bag spilled open as she played her game with him. The man obviously possessed a hell of a lot of patience, after-all not everyone would let a little girl play dress-up on them.

Composing herself Piper turned back to the three, her grin only a small smile now. Giselle, taking pity on Mathew put a stop to the play and began to pick up the make-up. A moment later a knock on the apartment door and Giselle straightened and headed to open it. It appeared that it was Hope's mother, judging by Giselle's shout from the door and Hope's excited cry of "Mummy!" .

Left alone with Mathew in the lounge Piper didn't know where to look. Piper, trying not to make eye contact with Mathew in case she began to laugh in his face - a very real problem at the moment, followed the sounds coming from the door. She heard Giselle's footsteps as she left the entrance and went into the kitchen. She came into the lounge for long enough to say to Piper,
"It's getting late Piper, you should get home, and thanks for cleaning up, your a life savor... oh and don't forget about the meeting." . Then she was gone again, leaving Piper with the distinct feeling that she was being kicked out and avoided. Piper frowned momentarily, she had wanted to get her aunt alone to question her about her behaviour at dinner, but it appeared that she wouldn't have a chance tonight.

With a sigh Piper turned towards Mathew. Any danger of her laughing at his makeup was lost in her worry about her aunt.
"I'll see you... around." Piper fare-welled him, unsure how formal or friendly to be since really, they hadn't talked much before today. She walked through the corridor and to the apartment door. There Giselle, Hope and Charity were gathered, Giselle handing over the left-over takeaways.
Piper nodded a greeting at Charity, she didn't know the woman that well but had no reason not to be friendly. Smiling at Hope Piper gave her a little wave,
"It's been nice seeing you Charity." She told the girl before turning to her aunt. "I'd best leave now, but I'll come around before the meeting tomorrow." Piper didn't pose it as a question, she would come and visit her aunt. She was determined to get her alone and find out what was wrong with her.

With a final wave she squeezed through the door and into the corridor. It was most likely the change of atmosphere but suddenly Piper felt a wave of fatigue wash over her. A late night of assignments and early morning had finally caught up with her. Fighting back a yawn she wondered back to her apartment, pushing her keys into the lock as she reached her door. A buzzing in her pocket indicated that someone had sent her a text. As she opened the door, pushing against it with her back, she pulled the phone out of her pocket and unlocked it with a swipe of her thumb.

- -Goodnight Piper hope to see you tomorrow morning! -

A smile lit her face as she read the text from Severin. She hadn't seen him all day, a mixture of him being busy with work and she being forced to spend hours in the university library finishing her assignment.

- Night! xx - She sent back, hoping she wouldn't wake him with her text. As always when she thought of Severin a tickling of guilt pricked her consciousness. She was getting better at ignoring it but she doubted that it would ever completely leave.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Giselle Torres Character Portrait: Charity Louis
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Charity offers the woman at the door a warm smile, for she is on rather good terms with the young teacher who so kindly watches Hope for her on nights when she can't find anyone else to do so. She tries not to glance back towards the room from which the noise had come earlier, and only just barely succeeds, keeping her eyes on Giselle. Well, they soon move over Giselle's shoulder and into the apartment, despite the fact that Hope remains out of sight, even in that glance. She tucks a lock of brown hair behind her own ear, patiently waiting for Giselle to say something, though the waiting is a very brief one. The Hispanic woman turns and calls out to Hope over her shoulder, asking the little girl to guess after a fairly obvious answer. "It's the tooth fairy, by the way!" Charity chimes in with a smile, before turning her attention back towards Giselle, who has begun to say something about having something for Charity.

"Oh? Well, you don't need to-" but the protests are in vain, as Giselle retreats back into the apartment and out of sight temporarily, leaving a time gap in which a particular little girl runs through the kitchen and towards the door, exclaiming 'mommy' with an excitement that never fails to melt Charity's heart. The entire floor seems to be somewhat enchanted by Hope, but no one has quite as much affection for the precious little girl as her mother does. As Hope comes within reach, Charity easily hoists her up, stepping out of the doorway so that she can hold Hope up and spin around, beaming brightly at her daughter. Exhaustion is still telling in her features, but it is lessened slightly by her smile and the warm look in her chocolate eyes.

"Hello there, sweetheart. Were you good for Ms. Torres?" she asks, expecting the answer to be yes. Even when that isn't the honest answer, it tends to be the one that Hope gives. Besides, what she is really asking for is a briefing on what Hope has done for the past few hours, because she knows that the girl will take the question and launch into a detail and animated account of her evening. Her daughter's enthusiasm is more refreshing, often times, than a cool bottle of water would be to Charity. Before Hope can respond, however, Giselle has returned with a tell-tale white box, making it obvious what she is bringing back to Charity, whose face lights up momentarily at the sight of the food container. The gnawing feeling in her stomach is suddenly more powerful, and this is entirely due to the knowledge that there is food within those white cardboard flaps.

Still, she is hesitant to take it, knowing that Giselle might be better off saving it for takeout. "Oh, you don't have to give it to me- you can save it for lunch tomorrow or something, right? Wait, here," Charity shifts Hope into one arm and fishes through her purse, carefully extracting a wallet and managing to, through a combination of experience and skill, pull out a wrinkled and worn five dollar bill, "Here, for Hope's portion of the meal."

Although Charity knows that Hope probably didn't eat that much, and that Giselle would never actually ask for reimbursement, she is always trying to get the kind woman to accept some sort of money in return for taking the time to watch and take care of Hope for her. It is a rare night when she succeeds, but Charity is often to blame for such things as Giselle finding a five dollar bill on the floor just inside her, or something like that.

"Good evening, Piper," Charity responds in turn, offering the girl a smile and shifting Hope over to her other arm. She looks at her daughter and tucks a curl of hair behind the girl's ear. "We need to get you in bed," the mother comments.




The setting changes from Realistic to Kohana Creek

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Giselle Torres Character Portrait: Charity Louis
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"Alright, bye Piper." Elle called out just as her niece made her way through Charity and Hope. "Oh, you don't have to give it to me- you can save it for lunch tomorrow or something, right? Wait, here," "No, it's for you... I should have asked Hope what your favorite was, next time" She winked the small child almost strategically placed in Charity's arms. The second Elle watched Charity reached into her purse, she instantly shook her head, already having the slightest idea as to what she was doing. Although she did wait indefinitely until the money was placed in her direction. "Here, for Hope's portion of the meal." "¡Ay no." Elle stated firmly, a hint of her native accent enunciated around the words. The Latina would not debate over this. Her answer was final. With the conclusion of knowing how this conversation was going to go, she simply went to bid a farewell to Hope. "Adiós monada." She said, offering the small kid a child-like grin because more than likely, she'd be asking her what the word meant the next time they met. A usual visual Elle fond herself counterfeiting for the prosperity of others. Empty disguise that she hoped no one would see through. "You guys have a good night." She gave both women a nod and brief smile before waving them off.

The ending of her night was almost within reach, yet there was still someone she had yet to deal with. Matthew. After closing up the door, Elle returned to the living room, her eyes still unable to fully make any contact with the man seated on the sofa. "I'm so sorry... I only thought she would want you to paint her over, not the other way around." The woman exhaled a deep breath as she ran a enervated hand threw her raven locks. She continued to step into the room until she was no more than six or so feet away from him. "Thanks for being patient with her." For the first time since Hope started her endeavor, she finally allowed her eyes to glance at the final product. It took her entire being not to burst out into laughter. The little girl hadn't even applied the lipstick properly, if at all the least she could do. Overall, it was nice. In the sense that Matthew had been so patiently and willingly. "Here, come with me so I can get that stuff off of you." The brunette began to head back into the apartment down the hall until she reached her bedroom. It didn't seem to be a big deal that she had been leading the man through her home. Nothing of which he hasn't seen before. Her eyes traveled back to the mirror where the reflection of his back could be seen.

Elle pushed opened the bathroom adjacent to her own room and reached out an arm to flip on the light switch. Light instantly brightened the room, a place she had not long just been in. "Right here." She instructed the man, motioning towards the place at the sink. Elle retrieved the make-up remover from one of the drawers, then grabbed a few cotton balls from the container, returned the jar and occluded the drawer. Carefully did she apply the solution onto the ball until it was slightly saturated and moved in front of Matthew. Because of the distance of proximity of her body positioned just a few inches away from his. "Close your eyes." Leaning forward a bit, Elle lifted herself on to her toes as she gently dabbed the remover on his sealed eyelids. "Not your idea of great Friday night." Elle couldn't help but let a giggle pass through her lips. "I hope your not traumatized."The woman said as she abruptly replaced the piece of cotton with the pad of her thumb to wipe the excess shadow off, the first of contact she has ever made with him. After a few swipes, she continued on to the left eye. "Again, I'm really sorry, Matthew... It is okay if I call you Matthew right?" She asked, removing the cotton ball from his face.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Giselle Torres
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Elle slowly opened her eyes, the sunlight sneaking through the curtains brightened up the living room. The next feeling she felt beside the usual post-sleep feeling was warmth. So much warmth that in fact she found herself nearly burning up. Lazily, Elle kicked off the blanket and sat up on her spot on the sofa. The brunette licked at her dry lips and glanced over to the coffee table where a small note was placed. Without really wanting too, she leaned up and captured the small piece of paper.

Elle,

Thank you for dinner. I had a nice time. I'll see you tomorrow.

-Matthew


A smile fell over the woman's lips as she re-read the note for the second time, happy that he hadn't used 'Ms. Torres'. Elle retraced the wording of his handwriting, masculine with a tinge of modesty. All the same, it also outlined his personality...well from what she had seen so far. The quiet apartment echoed with tick originating from the clock nailed to the wall. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. She raised her hand and comb through her raven locks. After folding up the blanket, Elle headed into the kitchen were she poured herself a glass of orange juice, which probably wasn't the brightest of ideas considering barely a minute later was she feeling nauseous. Walking briskly back towards her bedroom, she made it to the bathroom just in time as the acidic fluids were making there way back up her esophagus.

..........................

As she sat there on the floor wiping a few tears that escaped her eyes, Elle knew she had to do something. Since she had never officially sojourned to the doctor, there was now legitimated way that she could known how far along she was. Alas home pregnancy test purchased from the local drug store aren't always reliable. But aiding to the fact that she's over a month late, and the constant regurgitating made it that much harder to deny what was. Instead of dwelling, Elle still had too attend the meeting. So while continuing to brush her teeth, she decided she would attend. Although snuggling back into her cozy bed did look promising.



After finishing a much needed warm shower, she quickly blow-dried it and gathered her partially damp tresses into a high messy bun. Elle moved into the bedroom to retrieve some attire, temperate friendly. In the end, she settled with a strapless black maxi dress and a pair of beige bamboo wedges. She glanced at the small clock set onto her nightstand, finding it at 8:25 A.M.

The Latina snatched the keys from nightstand and made her way towards the front door. Opening the front door created a wind of air followed by that unique hall smell. A mixture set in freshly vacuumed carpet and a comforting feeling of home. Although that brief moment of content was interrupted by the passing of Sebastian. His cold and endearing eyes passing over her body like she was a piece of meat. Elle simply ignored his antics and continued locking up her place, just then did she spot her beautiful niece Piper and her handsome boyfriend Severin. She had only met him a few times, but since he worked like an madman it was almost impossible for her to invite him to any dinners. However, from she's seen so far, he the perfect candidate for Piper. Too bad the same can't be said about that friend of his who completely gave her the creeps. Even though she back on the market, didn't mean she wanted to be looked at that way. But when continued on his way, she turned her attention back to the couple. "Hey, guys. Heading down?" She stated, following up on the path to the elevators. "I hope she's has good news, y'know. Something like going down on rent." Elle grinned, as the elevator dinged, still keeping her gaze away from Sebastian because who knows where his was. After the elevator doors opened, the brunette followed the wall around the corner into the elegant lobby. If she could she move her bed down to this area and stakeout there.

When she looked, there were a few occupants already there, including Matthew. Elle continued to glance around, a few more familiar faces like Eloise for example. Not seeing Sage relaxed her for the time-being and she wondered if he was even going to be in attendance regarding the meeting. Of course she could always let him know what happened if it was even anything to be notified of, or if Samuel attended then surely he could get the information to his best friend. She also wondered if Charity and Kohana's cutest, Hope, were going to show up soon. Because she had got lost in her train of thought, Sebastian had took the seat she planned on taking so she settle for another spot. The white sofa, already seating both Matthew and Eloise. One at one end, and the one at the other, so agreed to sit closer to the person she was more familiar with. Matthew. But not to close. No closer than the two had sat last night. As she sat down on the plush sofa, Elle offered him a curvature of her lips. "Hey. Sorry for passing out last night... I was just really exhausted. I didn't even hear you leave." She said, and right as she finished the sentence she instantly regretted putting it in that wording. The woman glanced over at Eloise, and back over to centerfold. Hoping that she didn't take what she said the wrong way and confuse the innocent night with a carnal affair.

Just then the man known as Alan Westbrook entered the lobby dressed in a black designer suit holding a handful of papers. He removed his sunglasses and passed them to the beautiful older woman standing next to him. After handing over the glasses to her, Alan glanced down at his watch and decided to give it a few more minutes to officially begin.




The setting changes from Kohana Creek to Realistic

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Giselle Torres Character Portrait: Charity Louis
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Charity

"Hope? Sweetheart?" Charity runs her hands though tangled brown hair and yawns, moving so that her legs hang off of the bed, brushing against the slippers that lay on the ground just beside her. The slippers are old and worn down, any sort of fluffiness erased by overuse until they have become little more than a thin layer between her feet and the chill of the wooden floors that cover all of the family's small apartment. Charity can see that she has slept in a bit past her normal hour, and chalks this up to a late night and various, well, stressful factors of it. The young mother glances over at Hope, who had fallen asleep in her bed beside her, and reaches out to touch her forehead, which is warm but not worryingly so. The young girl looks so peaceful and angelic in sleep that her mother hates to wake her, and thus allows her to continue sleeping. Promise me you won't make the same mistakes, Charity asks of her daughter, though she doesn't actually voice the words, instead sighing very softly and brushing a strand of hair out of the sleeping girl's face. This action reminds her of last night, as Sebastian had done something relatively similar to her, and a chill creeps down the woman's spine immediately, though she tries to shake it off. As far as she can tell, that particular young man has a special gift for giving others the chills with his behavior.

Looking rather tired, and feeling much older than she is, Charity runs her hands through her hair once more before standing up and making her way to the bathroom for a shower, making the consecutive decision to put off breakfast until Hope is awake, so that they can have eggs and fruit together. For the moment, she washes, feeling refreshed by the warmth of the water, a luxury which she hasn't always had. It occurs to the woman that she is one of the younger tenants of this apartment building, and yet feels as though she is one of the older ones. Even people like Piper and Eloise, whom she automatically views as children, are only a few years her juniors. Sometimes, watching those who are younger than her, or in many cases older than her, have so much freedom and potential makes Charity feel rather wistful. By all means, she should be in college right now, and should have the freedom to stay out all night at parties, to date, to be realizing some greater potential. Instead, she takes care of a child, is cautious in everything she does, and steers clear of relationships altogether. This isn't something she blames Hope for, though, and she doesn't regret having her daughter. She blames herself for having a child so soon, and in doing so seems to forget that it wasn't her fault, not entirely. Maybe she shouldn't have been so careless about partying when she was young, but how was she to know that she would be raped in an intoxicated state?

Charity gets out of the shower, trying to leave those useless thoughts behind. Steam clouds the mirror, so she goes without seeing the flush in her cheeks. Returning to the bedroom to dress tells the young woman that her daughter remains out cold, so she dresses as quietly as possible, putting on a simple sundress that had been on sale at a walmart. All of her best clothing are from thrift stores, but she tends to save those for special occasions. Not that she really has any special occasions, outside of taking Hope out for special birthday dinners, or things like that. The woman begins to start brewing a pot of coffee, a beverage which she used to hate but now has come to rely on, when a glance at the clock reminds her of the note she had found under her door late last night. The meeting, she recalls suddenly, seeing that it is starting around. . .one minute from now.

She immediately turns of the coffee maker and haphazardly brushes her hair, pulling on a pair of sandals simultaneously. Charity runs into the bedroom, but finds Hope still asleep. Not wanting to leave her alone in the apartment, she picks the girl up and sits her against her hip before hurrying out to door, forgetting to lock it -though that likely doesn't matter- and rushing to the elevator. Perhaps she wouldn't be in such a rush if it weren't for the landlady- Charity adores the elderly woman, and would never dare to be the one who shows up late to any meeting called by her.

She enters the lobby to find that several people have already arrived, including Sebastian and Eloise, both of whom she carefully ignores. Besides, she looks so different than she had last night, washed and fresh, dressed so simply that it gives off an impression of innocence, and they had been doing drugs, so perhaps they won't recall a thing. Of course, that very well may be wishful thinking on her part. Still, a girl can dream. The mother shifts her daughter's sleeping position on her hip and walks over to the crowd, quietly slipping in among them.

Close behind her walks Samuel, who had ultimately given up on waking up his brother, and therefore came downstairs alone, soon walking towards Sage to stand beside him. He holds a cup of coffee in his hand, and looks like a man just about to go to work, as he usually does. Suave and clean cut- that's the way the man prefers to remain. "Any idea what this is all about?" he asks Sage casually.

The setting changes from Realistic to Kohana Creek

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Giselle Torres
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Alan finally cleared his throat as a few more occupants entered the lobby. He glanced down at his Rolex, it was now fifteen til, meaning the meeting wold officially commence. The beautiful woman standing next to him removed her Christian Dior sunglasses and allowed her eyes to get use to the light. Glancing over to her wealthy husband, she watched him closely as he began to talk. Alan took steps to the middle of the lobby, the area just between the few furnishings.

"Hello everyone. Before we began, I'd like to introduce myself. I am Alan Westbrook, and standing over there is my wonderful and gorgeous wife, Sasha Westbrook. And we both are extremely excited to meet each and everyone of you." Alan clasped his hands together while welcoming the odd glances he was receiving in return fr his introduction. "I know many of you are wondering why you've been dragged down here on such a beautiful day. And I also know this may come as a shock to everyone, so please understand and believe when I say is a very said time for all of us. By that, I mean..." The man inhaled sharply, "Keilani Fergosa, has unfortunately passed away. I am very sorry to keep all of you in the dark but her son, Ono, wanted to keep things private until their entire family came up with a final decision. Which no doubt had to be a tough one, but the family has decided to disclose the information."

"This is without a doubt one of the most tragic things that can happen. I can only imagine what her family is going through, and I also know some of you were quite friendly with Ms. Fergosa. We all know she was sweet, honorable woman with the purest of intentions and only wanted to look out for everyone. It saddens me that this has happened especially around such a crucial time for Kohana Creek. This is why I wanted to speak to each tenant in an controlled manner as to somewhat ease the bad news. I really didn't know her well, but from the business we have done, proves that she was a strong woman and refused to tolerate antics. Keeping things peaceful, so I do hope that with the ownership now in my direct hands, I can only say I wish to keep her craft on the same path."Alan waved for Sasha to come over, and when she did he handed her another small stack of pamphlets and asked her to hand them out. "Once again, I know thousands of questions are swirling your heads. Uhm, my wife will be passing out obituaries for Ms. Fergosa. The family has also decided to have an open funeral service to anyone who wishes to attend tomorrow at twelve noon. Y'know, pay your respects, say your goodbyes. You can find all the information in the obituary."

"I would have liked for Keilani to be with here when I did this. However, it's done and I am now officially the new owner of Kohana Creek. All the needed documents have been signed yesterday morning, so a few changes will go into effect immediately. The first important change that will have to be made is the additional one-hundred fifty,which will be added to the rent, bringing the total rent to twelve hundred. I know this is sudden but we all know it's around that time to re-sign your leases. Meaning if the additional money isn't something you can agree to then perhaps it will be time to think about finding different living arrangements."

"The second change everyone should be aware of is the more strict guidelines concerning the rent. In the past, Keilani has mentioned on several occasions that some tenants have been late on the rent, I can understand her want to be lenient but I'm afraid that will change. The permanent date for rent is for the first of every month and if payments are not made by the third of that month then a fifty dollar late fee will be added to your charges. If you fail to make a payment by the fifth day, then please be ready to receive a note of eviction that is none negotiable. I am very sorry to have drop this kind of news on you all followed by the new guidelines but, we have to start from somewhere right?" Alan chuckled to himself. He handed his wife the other stack of papers which contained the new guidelines and several other guidelines needed to abide by. Such would include no littering, soliciting, hanging in the halls after a certain time and the addition of a new receptionist that will be stationed in the lobby.

"Well thank you for your time, I'm here to answer any questions. My contact information can be found on the flyers. I hope to see all of you in attendance of the funeral tomorrow... Oh, and is there a Mr. Mathew Granger here, I need to speak to him privately." He asked, scanning the lot for the unsuspecting man.




The setting changes from Kohana Creek to Realistic

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Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Giselle Torres
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As time marched slowly on to the meeting time, people began trickling into the lobby in varying degrees of alertness. Some seemed still damp from a rushed shower, others with bed-head and still in pajamas as they shuffled to claim some of the sparse seating like mindless zombies before their daily caffeine infusion. Matthew stayed where he was, wishing that he'd brought his phone to entertain him or, given that he didn't actually have anyone to text per-say, at least give the illusion of being social which was its own brand of depressing. Instead, he glanced around as each new arrival made their way into the room, recognizing, however vaguely, each face. There was that couple from the twenty-second floor who he'd helped with a faulty stove some time ago, the older man from the twentieth-floor who enjoyed ranting about what was wrong with today's young people whenever Matthew had to stop by... Each time someone walked fully into the room, his eyes drifted back to the floor because Heaven forbid they think he was watching them(which he was) or, horror upon horror, that he wanted to talk(which he desperately did not want to do with these people at this hour).

He was dragged forcefully from his people-watching by a sudden shift of weight on his couch. His eyes darted to the side, glancing at the couch's new occupant for just a moment before flickering back the the tiled lobby floor. Renter of apartment number 1109 and his neighbor, Eloise Pardon. It wasn't that they had ever interacted and even their brief, wordless meetings were few and far between. Still, she made him uncomfortable- that was the best way to put it, uncomfortable- from just one specific incidence, even if she probably didn't remember it. They'd been stuck in the elevator together as it rose to their floor. The journey had only been a few moments, but for Matthew it had felt like hours upon aching hours as he quickly recognized the rosy cheeks and glazed over expression, he'd even convinced himself that he could smell it on her, but that may have been his imagination overreacting and cravings he'd tried to keep at bay began to stir. He'd stayed on the phone with Simon for two hours afterwards, depressed with himself that just seeing someone who had dabbled in drugs had nearly broken his will-power.

Still, she didn't seem to want to talk and he was just fine with that. More people began to trickle in, but Matthew avoided looking up this time, instead indulging in the monotony of counting the floor tiles before him in an attempt to stave off boredom. Somewhere around the sixtieth tile, he noticed someone else walking towards the couch and forced himself to glance upwards. Seeing Ms. Torres- Elle, he corrected himself again, something he'd probably still be doing for some time- settling into the seat next to him brought on a feeling of both relief and a minute anxiety. He liked Elle, really he did, probably the best of his neighbors if only because they'd seen each other the most, but, after last night, he had no idea what to do. She didn't seem to have the same problem, however.

"Hey. Sorry for passing out last night... I was just really exhausted. I didn't even hear you leave."

His face flushed for a moment and any attempt at eye-contact on his part was instantly shut down. The comment was innocuous in meaning, but he wasn't stupid, he knew what it sounded like.

"It's, um, it's fine. Thank you for inviting me to, uh, to dinner," He stammered out, tripping over his own words. Maybe it was a deep-seeded need to be polite at least or maybe it was an attempt to clear up any misconceptions. Hopefully no one was listening in to their little conversation(really, who would?), but, still, it was the principle of the matter.

Any further attempt at conversation was thankfully cut off as the last few people filled into the room and a man near the front of the little assembly cleared his throat quite purposefully. Matthew blinked, glancing around the room. He didn't recognize this man bedecked in designer clothes. Who was he? And, more importantly, where was Keilani? The introduction was bizarre as he stared ahead, confusion in his gaze, but that slipped away instantly the moment he announced... he announced that... that...

"Keilani Fergosa, has unfortunately passed away."

It was like time had frozen for a moment, and he knew that Alan Westbrook was still talking, but he simply didn't care because Keilani was dead. She was dead, dead, dead. It was like a block of ice had been dropped into his stomach, chilling him to the bone as emotions battled with one another for dominance. Shock over the news, so sudden and unexpected, horror because he was never going to see Keilani's bright smiling face again or hear her speak, anguish because this was Keilani, one of the few people he clung to with an almost desperation and who cared about him in turn, and anxiety, crippling him for the moment. What was he supposed to do now? What was going to happen? What would he do?

He could already feel pinpricks of tears fighting to escape his eyes and it felt just like when his grandmother had died, didn't it? Like his whole world was gone, a support that he'd needed gone forever. Keilani who had given him a home, a job, a chance when no-one else would even give him a second glance. Keilani who had believed in him, who had invited him over for dinner, who talked to him like he was normal, who had nagged at him like a second mother. She was gone. Gone forever. Matthew wanted to leave now, to curl up in his bed, pull the comforter over his head, and block out the rest of the world until it was safe to come out. He wanted to hold onto something or someone and be reassured that, yes, it would be okay. He wanted- oh, God, he wanted something to numb the pain, to fill the void that had just opened up and there was only one thing he knew that could do that and he really, really shouldn't, but it was so damn tempting right now. He only just prevented himself from panicking over that little revelation as he rubbed at his eyes, wiping away budding tears. He could freak out later- well, freak out more because he was most certainly not okay even right now- but for now his new landlord(that sounded sickening, even in his thoughts) was still talking, even if Matthew didn't quite want to listen.

He took one of the obituaries in his hand, and only just noticed that he was trembling, the paper moving sporadically in his shaking hands. He tried to still them, but he could only concentrate on controlling so many things, and, as he set the paper down next to him and clasped his trembling hands together, he decided that not causing a scene was more important. Much more important. He wouldn't, couldn't expose himself like that, couldn't take away from the meeting. The battle against his tears began anew as he glanced at the pictures on the obituary, but, once more, he wiped them away and tuned back in to the man speaking.

New rent, new leases, new rules. Matthew couldn't help but hate this guy, just a little bit, for changing everything right now. Which wasn't fair, really, none of this was his fault. Then again, he thought bitterly, he might not even be here tomorrow. He was here because he had a deal with Keilani, he was her employee and this well-dressed man could just as easily terminate his job and kick Matthew to the curb. His anxiety doubled as he bit his bottom lip, clasping his hands even tighter together, only releasing them to dutifully pick up one of the sheets illustrating the new guidelines. Why bother, though? The thought was pessimistic, but Matthew considered himself a realist- why keep him around when you could hire someone without a history as sketchy as his own, who was actually trained for the job?

"Oh, and is there a Mr. Mathew Granger here, I need to speak to him privately."

Matthew's mouth suddenly went dry, making speech impossible for a moment as he pulled himself together the best he could. He could break later- would break later- but for now, he had to keep calm and carry on.... Well, until he was safely ensconced in his apartment or former apartment or whatever.

"Right, uh, right here, Mr. Westbrook. I'm- I'm Matthew Granger," He finally forced out, standing awkwardly to his feet, stuffing his still trembling hands into his jean pockets to mask the involuntary movement.

The setting changes from Realistic to Kohana Creek

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eloise Pardon Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Matthew Granger Character Portrait: Piper Torres Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Giselle Torres
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Alan nodded and placed a hand on Matthew's back as he led him over to a more private area where he could discuss business. The older man dropped his hands at his sides before he continued on. "I just wanted to have a quick word with you about the changes.. Now I don't want to worry you, I'm sure you're having a terribly rough time right now but there is something you can look forward to." He grinned.

"Keilani insisted that whatever I did I was not to get rid of you. She spoke very highly of you and I can't say I'm not impressed. You're a one man show, running this entire," Alan continued after moving his hands in a wailing motion. "Building all by yourself. I can't get rid of you... in fact I ant to promote you if you will. I'm thinking we add you to my payroll, discount to your rent for working for working here and I'm even willing too add on benefits. Well that is if you can keep up with the good work. You can stop by the front desk on Monday, I'll have the new hot receptionist ready the papers for you." He winked before he glanced down towards Matthew's empty ring finger. "I think you'll be very happy working along side her. All work orders are going to be put in through her from now on."

"Again, I'm very sorry for your loss. See you tomorrow then." The landlord pivoted on the heels of his feet to retrieve his wife and presumably talk to other tenants.



Elle had never met a man such as Matthew before. Someone so soft yet durable and it was something she appreciated believe it or not. Unlike the putative postulation that women prefer the rugged bad boy, the soft-spoken, light-heated man seemed to beguile her. Yet she knew, men like that are usually product of something very malevolent. "It's, um, it's fine. Thank you for inviting me to, uh, to dinner," But, it was hard to say the same about Matthew. He didn't look like he could raise his hand to anyone (as cliche as it sounds) even a fly. Well perhaps he'd be able to do so if needed. Though oddly enough, the awkwardness pulled her in. "It's the least I could do. Seriously, you earned it. And my mother always told me to take care of the man that takes care of your household." She said with a simper of contenance.

The only thing that worried her was his sensibility of the opposite sex. Furthermore, Elle couldn't help the distanced vibe she got from him... Maybe it sounds stupid on her end. She has been out of the dating scene for a while, so being the newest addition to the singles team was not foreseeable. Perhaps Elle had gotten so comfortable with a man asking the initiative, or perhaps her and Matthew were only meant to be friends, well more so neighbors because that department didn't appear practical either. Hell, who's to say he was playing in the same ball park as she. This wouldn't not be the first time Elle thought something chimerical of man only to find out said man was actually playing for the opposing team or in another fathomable word, homosexual. Now, she wasn't pointing fingers, and certainly was not accusing of him of being gay directly, indirectly one could say she did mentally question it.

Though, it obviously was none of her business to begin with, so sitting there trying to summarize the behavior of another individual probably made her look abnormal. Besides, it's not like she was planning on marrying the guy tomorrow. She had much bigger problem(s) to do deal with and at the moment, worrying why someone else acted mystifying shouldn't be first on her list. While crossing her legs over one another, something unsettling caught her eye; had Sage handed Amelia a cup of coffee? The dumfounded question she couldn't help but ask. Surely it was nothing more than a friendly gesture, the Cuban tried reassuring herself continuously. Elle ended up tossing her eyes over the scene and glancing down the other end of the sofa again to Eloise.

After clearing her uncouth thoughts something much needed happened. A well dressed man sporting a suit approached the cast with a clear of his throat. It gained the woman's attention so any further conversation with Matthew was to be put on hold. "Hello everyone. Before we began, I'd like to introduce myself. I am Alan Westbrook. As he introduced himself, Elle found herself staring down at the glossy marble flooring. "I know many of you are wondering why you've been dragged down here on such a beautiful day. That was understatement considering she could have slept for at least three more hours. "Keilani Fergosa, has unfortunately passed away." But once he said those words, a tightening ache ignited at the pit of her stomach. Suddenly breathing became that much harder and the denial of tremor set in. She had a hard time focusing on anything else the man said afterwards. There was no way this man was telling the truth, Elle refused the believe it and at that point, it was the only way the tears were postponed for as long as they were. Her moment of absence was brought back by the unfamiliar woman, introduced as Sasha holding out a folded up pamphlet of sorts which she reluctantly took.

Hazel orbs lazily tumbled down to the paper, the first tear stained her cheek with salt as it slipped through her closed lid. Reality was sinking in, painfully so but the harsh realness that Mr. Westbrook's words were meticulously true made the news that much harder to bear. Even so, seeing Keilani's face fading from young to old did little to ease the pain. More tears surfaced, only this time she stopped them before giving them life. Elle mindlessly glanced over to Matthew, him sitting no more than a foot away. His hands told a story that she didn't need to see his face to understand, they said it all.

Death. The inevitable. Some people have learned to accept it while others fear the unavoidable sentence. People also deal with death in different ways; some cry, some bury their sorrows by drinking, others suppress their emotions and some turn to drugs for an escape. What was her absolve? Elle had never had to deal with death, her grandparents died while she was young. And luckily her parents had a relatively good bill of health. Again, she glance around the room. Some of the tenants didn't look affected at all by the news, and then there were a few who pretended to care.

Alan continued to talk, well boast at his 'amazing' victory of gaining ownership, Elle kept her eyes fastened shut to hold any free-falling tears. "The first important change that will have to be made is the additional one-hundred fifty,which will be added to the rent, bringing the total rent to twelve hundred. Just like a cooperate 'boss' to pull something like this. Buy a family owned establishment and turn into a nightmare. People like him made her sick. Only looking out for their wallets instead of the well-being of their consumers. When Alan requested Matthew privately, the silence was interrupted. And after they left, Elle found no other need to stay. So after a minute of sitting idly, she stood up from her spot and hastily headed around the corner to the elevators. Not bothering to exchange words with Piper, or Amelia. The doors soon slide open as she made haste steps to enter the elevator. The brunette hit the number twenty-three button and hoped the doors would soon close before anybody decided to leave as well.

The setting changes from Kohana Creek to Realistic

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Character Portrait: Hope Louis Character Portrait: Sage Blackwood Character Portrait: Charity Louis Character Portrait: Samuel Williams Character Portrait: Amelia Cardozo
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Charity

Charity looks around briefly at the others, scanning the crowd to see if anyone seems to have an idea about what is going on. Seeing no signs of awareness on the faces of anyone but the stranger at the front of the group, she gives in and watches him. The young mother doesn't really stand with any other people at the moment, not on the fringes but not clearly near anyone in particular, other than her daughter, of course. Hope starts to stir slightly, so Charity looks about for an open chair that she may place her daughter in for the moment. Seeing none, she shifts the little girl's position in her arms slightly, and continues to wait for the news. What comes next feels like a punch in the stomach, sudden and painful. Her grip on Hope is suddenly tighter when the man, who introduces himself as Alan Westbrook, announces the death of Keilani Fergosa. It seems that only a few weeks ago, the elderly woman had been kind enough to watch Hope for her while Charity worked. Until only a few hours ago, the kindly landlady had been the only one who knew about Charity's employment, but she had never judged the young mother for this- not openly, anyway, though Charity trusts that she hadn't done so privately, either. I knew that she was sick, but, the young woman takes a deep breath to steady herself. Besides, if she seems to be overly sad, it might disturb Hope, who opens her eyes now and again before drifting back to sleep.

Someone hands Charity a pamphlet, though she can't entirely recall taking it, merely finding it within her free hand. She looks at it blankly for a moment, before stroking Hope's hair with the same hand. She doesn't have a pocket, and so it remains in her hand as she holds her daughter and absorbs the information. Perhaps she hadn't been as close as some to Mrs. Fergosa, but the elderly woman had been like an angel, a saint, to Charity, and the loss of her is like an icicle stabbed through her stomach, sending a chill up her spine and making her feel inexplicably cold all over. It is hardly a pleasant feeling, that much is true, but she can't do anything about it, despite a sudden urge to put on a thick coat and fall asleep with Hope in her arms.

Not really giving the people as much time as they need, or at least deserve, to absorb the information, the smartly dressed man speaks back up, drawing attention to him and his clearly well taken care of wife. They practically smell of money, the sort of people who were born and raised in it, and have grown distant from others because of it. Distant from those who do not walk in the same radiance as them, anyway. This is painfully clear by his next few comments, which strike Charity in an entirely different way than the news of Keilani's death had. She begins running the math in her head, realizing that they are going to have to start cutting back to fit this new rent. Rather than the chill from before, a wave of nausea comes over the young woman, who has to tense every muscle in order to keep her knees from buckling and from needing to lean against something. $150 is grocery money, is clothing allowance- it's Hope's field trips and other school expenses. Having resolved long ago to give her daughter as best as she can, Charity immediately begins to think about how she can cut down on her own expenses. About which meals she can skip over, or what purchases aren't really necessary.

The mother buries her face into her daughter's shoulder for a moment, whispering "I love you" to her, before taking another deep breath and looking over at Mr. Westbrook. He seems to have finished his briefing, which is some sort of relief for the young woman. I can just work longer hours from now on, she thinks. To be honest, the woman, only 21 and yet so much older, has knots of stress and is probably developing a stomach ulcer from the same demon- stress. But all of that is low on her list of priorities, and so go unchecked. Hope had begun to wake up now, and squirmed to be let onto the floor. Charity outs her down, but still grips her daughter's hand.

"Mommy, what's happened?" she asks, so Charity sighs, not really wanting to explain this to Hope, but knowing that lying to children about things like death is a terrible idea. "How about we go and get something to eat, okay?" she says, something which Charity agrees with immediately, asking if they can go to a diner she likes that serves delicious milkshakes. Despite knowing that, from hereon out, they'll have to be more careful about funds, Charity smiles and agrees to her daughter's request. They pop upstairs so that Charity can properly brush her hair, wash her face, dress Hope, put on sandals, and go.



Samuel



Samuel raises an eyebrow at Amelia, hearing the sudden shift in her tone, and smiles slightly, running his hands through his hair once again. "Oh, I'm fine. I was never really that close to her- not that it isn't sad, of course," he adds quickly, not wanting to come off as completely uninterested in the death of someone who was near to him, to an extent. Still, he prefers to avoid tension like this, and will usually suppress it or allow it to slide off of him like water off of a well-made rain coat. He understands that she is probably being careful, in case he does have any trauma at the death of Keilani, and is doing his best to put those concerns to rest immediately, because he dislikes people tip toeing about, generally speaking, especially when there isn't any actual need to be doing so.

When Amelia challenges Sage about his skill at egg making, Samuel chuckles slightly and turns his attention back to his friend, who immediately responds that he can cook anything she wants. Whereas I burn toast, Samuel thinks to himself, although in not a self pitying or bitter way- rather a good-humored acknowledgement of his own terrible skills in the kitchen. There is a reason that his diet consists almost entirely of takeout and microwavables, after all. It isn't just laziness, but the result of complete and utter incompetence- incompetence which seems beyond help, to be completely honest.

As Sage begins to walk away, Samuel calls out after him, "I'll be expecting an omelet, then!" before looking back over towards Amelia and smiling again, putting his hands in his pockets. He has no need to go back to his apartment, already bathed and dressed quite nicely, with his wallet and such should he need to leave immediately after attending breakfast at Sage's place. "Are you okay, though?" he asks her courteously, realizing that she is the only one in the trio that has not been offered some sort of comfort, or subtly asked if they need comfort, over the lightning news. Being a nurse doesn't make a person immune to grieving over death, and her cheer may very well all be a show, put on because Sam and Sage aren't exactly exhibiting vulnerability in light of recent news.

"I know Giselle was close to Mrs. Fergosa, but were you as well? You don't really need to have breakfast with us if you don't want to," he says, trying to sound at least moderately gentle without giving the image of tiptoeing or anything like that. After all, such a thing would be hypocrisy, wouldn't it?