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Paisley Lawrence

Belle

0 · 542 views · located in Essex, Connecticut

a character in “Storybook: A Grimm World”, as played by mombie

Description

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Image P A I S L E Y x L A W R E N C E Image
Image "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere..." Image


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Image . B A S I C S . Image Image Image


§ . m o n i k e r ( s ) . none

§ . g e n d e r . female

§ . a g e . 24

§ . s e x u a lx o r i e n t a t i o n . heterosexual

§ . o r i g i n . Conques (Enchanted); London, England

§ . r e l a t i o n s h i pxs t a t u s . single forever

§ . f a i r y t a l e . Belle

§ . r o l e . neutral/villain

§ . o c c u p a t i o n . published author, travel blogger



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Image . A P P E A R A N C E .

§ . e y e s . hazel (can go from brown to green depending on clothing color)

§ . h a i r . chestnut brown

§ . h e i g h t . 5'5"

§ . w e i g h t . 127 lbs.

§ . p h y s i q u e . petite

§ . s k i n . pale with the faint touch of sun

§ . s c a r s . She has some scarring where she was once bitten by wolves in the Enchanted Realm.

§ . d e s c r i p t i o n . Small and petite; whilst she might have been the beauty in the provincial town of Conques, she's rather plain in Essex. Not pale, yet also not graced by the sun; she is dusted lightly in freckles and odd beauty marks. The dimples in her cheeks when she's happily smiling crease the crow's feet at the corners of her bright hazel eyes. Speaking of her eyes; they shift from brown to green to blue depending on the color of her attire for that day, or even how much light is hitting her. She's youthful, but there are obvious signs of aging beyond her years; such as the light wrinkles on her forehead and the every-so-often white hair astray in the waves of deep chocolate brown. They are subtle signs of stress that are rather odd given that Paisley lives a generally happy and carefree life.

Her style is just as mundane as her looks. Just as she has that kind of face that has one remarking, "You look like someone I know" when she's clearly never seen them before, she has a style that doesn't stand out. She just wants to be comfortable, and given her traveling lifestyle, she's not the type of gal to don a pair of swaggy high heels or a pencil skirt. She's more of a boho dress kind of chick; like maybe someone you'd see walking along the beach or going to some concert from a no-name artist. She's not a hippy, but she could hang with them. Other times she can be seen flaunting a pair of name-brand flip-flips, a pair of jeans, and a t-shirt with something ridiculous on the front. Her style is very much like her personality; to hell with it - enjoy the world.



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Image . C H A R A C T E R .

§ . d e m e a n o r . warmly intelligent and adventurous

§ . f e a r s . a world without books, not finishing her bucket list, aggressive men

§ . v i c e ( s) . wine coolers, wine, sometimes a cigarette in a social setting

§ . d i s l i k e s . text goes here

§ . l i k e s . adventure, books, writing, long walks in the evening, a hot cup of tea

§ . f l a w s . too kind, too forgiving, easy to guilt, manipulatible, kind of naive sometimes

§ . s t r e n g t h s . cultured, intelligent, adventurous, daring

§ . i n t e l l i g e n c e . above average intelligence but little common sense

§ . p e r s o n a l i t y . Paisley is a warm soul that just wants to live her life. For some reason, she has a very daring and adventurous personality, and she has turned into somewhat of a mega tourist. When she's not trying out new things in new places, she enjoys a summer home in France where she can write and dream. Hopelessly addicted to her social media account, Paisley's aware that she can be quite the oddball. She's a popular traveling blogger and one of the other published authors in town. She's written a series of mystery crime novels that take an unseeming detective and her handsome partner around the globe to solve the world's toughest cases. Sure, they aren't that popular, but she can easily make a living off of them.

The people of Essex find her charming in a strange naively sweet kind of way. Her intellect shines through immediately, and some folks can find her lack of common sense quite startling! But you know what they say about those who are book-smart - they don't know much else. She's trusting to a fault and believes that everyone deserves respect until they do something to take it away. To avoid confrontation, she seems to have white lies down to an art form. Her insults can be very lowkey, often going over someone's head because they may sound like more of a "bless your heart" saccharine note.

For a reason that she cannot pinpoint, she has a deep irrational fear of aggressive and assertive men. There is something about them that scares her even though she's never really had any personal experience.



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ImageImage Image . A B I L I T I E S .

§ Neither Paisley nor Belle have any special abilities. They are both intellectuals with an odd knack for calming even the rowdiest of hearts. They are great negotiators as well. Paisley is always on her feet and doing physical things, so she does have some ability to defend herself if she needed to. Would she be successful? Probably not, but at least she won't go down without a good fight on her part.

Both Paisley and Belle would be easily beaten by a man or beast, taken by a spell, or just overcome in general. However, what they both have going for them that gets them through everything in their lives is hope. That, and dreams. They both know that life is bigger than whatever is going on right at this very moment, and with that in mind, they can withstand any storm. In fact, it is with these "weapons" that they can also calm any storm. Belle is renowned for taming the Beast when he was at his darkest and lowest point, even if their ending wasn't movie-worthy.

Belle has resolve, inner strength, and courage to brave the darkness. She's lived through Beast and Gaston, and those were two men in her life that couldn't have been anymore emotionally, physically, and mentally abusive and fearsome. People will say that she's just a runner, but Belle likes to think of herself as a woman that won't take any more abuse from anyone. Her life is her own, and that took more guts than the people that choose to stay with those that want to change them.



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Image . H I S T O R Y .

BELLE || Belle's mother was a victim of the Black Death in Paris. At this time, she was only an infant. Maurice, her father, took them both out of the city to head away from the vicious plague as the very last request from his wife. They settled in the small provincial town of Conques where she was raised in a small cottage. The mother-father pair kept to themselves; Maurice busy inventing things that never work the way that should, and Belle lost in books dreaming of other worlds. Otherwise, life was pretty boring.

However, around the age of eighteen, she caught the eye of the town's hunkiest, braindead ignoramus - Gaston. He was dead set in marrying Belle because of her beauty but cared little else for the rest of her. He was rude, aggressive, assertive, and a bit demeaning to her character. He had this dream of her being his "little wife" with "six or seven strapping young boys". Despite her publically humiliating him at every chance she got, insulting him, and telling him no in every way possible - over time, Gaston grew on her. He really did. You see, Gaston believes he was the one with all the patience, but it was actually her. Deep down inside, she knew that he was borne into the rough expectations of what it meant to be masculine, and at that time and in that town, a woman like her was something of an enigma yet to be figured out. She understood him.

Gaston was nasty and cold, but he began to accept her. She eventually thought that she might have actually fallen in love with him, even if it had taken a long time and a lot of patience to get there. When she agreed to marry him, it seems that everyone would have what they desired. After all, what woman didn't want Gaston? Maybe he could give her adventure, thrills, a storybook life.

However, her father disappeared into the Black Forest after he decided to put his newest invention into a contest. Of course, he ended up in the castle of the Beast as a prisoner. Belle should have asked Gaston for help, but she panicked when Philippe, the horse, returned without Maurice on his back. She hopped on and let the mount bring her to the place her father ended up; a tall, gloomy, frightening castle that she's never seen before. The story went very much like it was expected; she traded her life for his, the Beast fell in love with her and she fell in love with the Beast, but it did not end the way you all know it.

Instead, when her father became ill after months spent at the Castle, the Beast allowed her to leave to tend to him. The townsfolk were trying to take her father to an insane asylum, so she showed Gaston the Beast through the Enchanted Mirror. Enraged, Gaston vowed to have the Beast's head mounted on his wall. Belle pleaded with the man; telling him that the Beast would harm no one, to just leave him be. But consumed by rage and jealousy, he had become far removed from the man Belle thought he could be. She ran away from the town in the middle of the night, leaving Gaston and Beast to their own fates.

Paisley || She owns a small summer home in France, but she has settled nowhere in particular. She has no family, no pets. She just has a car, her life, ambition, and a will to dare to adventure. She's published a few mystery novels that took off with that niche of homebody women that enjoy thrilling adventures with a naughty edge. She's lived in Essex for less than a couple of months, enjoying a small cottage near the lake. She's not sure what happened, but she doesn't have the desire to travel anymore. In reality, she just can't leave Essex.



coding x mombie | fc x Emilia Clarke | hex x #D35950

So begins...

Paisley Lawrence's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Lux Character Portrait: Roman Scarrott Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Grayson Hughes Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt
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#, as written by mombie
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~ Once Upon A Time ~
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It would seem, that in the Realm of Enchantment, there are heroes and there are villains. At least, that's what we were all told anyway. The truth is this - we don't know their real stories. We don't know why the villains became the bad characters we know and the heroes the pinnacle of goodness. The Realm of Enchantment is not truly painted in black and white in the way that the books and movies would tell us. In this world, one would be surprised to find out that not all things are as we were told...

The Enchanted Realm is in chaos. Villains are sick of the world they live in where the "heroes" are free to live their lives and all others are condemned. They want their freedom, too. They have been wronged and their pasts have been twisted beyond belief. They do have a purpose in life. They have a will to live. The desire, most of all, their very own happy ending. However, with the heroes standing in their way at every turn, they have come to only one conclusion - the good guys would have to die.

Jafar was one of these villains. He had the most powerful weapon in all of the Enchanted Realm at his greedy fingertips; the omnipotent Genie. With the help of so many other misunderstood characters wallowing on their seeming unhappy-ever-afters, a plan to bring death to all of the Realm's "heroes" was conceived. As others across the Realm heard news of this dark plan, they began to try to figure out how to stop it.

However, they could not stop Jafar. In their finals moments, the heroes that knew death was coming clung to the most powerful white magic in all the Realm - hope. It was this hope that, when Jafar's magic swept across the Realm, kept their physical bodies alive and thrust them through a rift between Enchantment and the real world. The rift created a town out of nothing called Storybook, Connecticut - known to the real world as Essex. The people that enter can't ever seem to leave, and it doesn't exist on any map.

Jafar was not happy that his plan did not work exactly, but upon discovering that they were in a new place, he had the Genie erase everyone's memories and give them new lives in this new world. He kept certain villains with their memories intact. He currently runs the Councillor's office under Mayor Catherine Wyland. Those in charge are in complete control of everyone, yet everyone else thinks they are living a perfectly normal life.

This is their happily-ever-after, and they intend to keep it that way - no matter what.

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~ Memories ~
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An only lady came tumbling out of a well in the woods, falling flat on her face! She got up, wiped away the dirt, and pat down her fluffy blue dress. "My, my, my, what a trip! What a trip." She took a quick look around her surroundings. It's the middle of the night and most of the town of Essex is asleep or in their homes. She walked down a beaten path until a road was found, at which point she could see the sleepy streets and dark buildings.

"Where am I?" she asked, adjusting the glasses to sit better across her nose. Her eyes scrunched and she dipped a hand into her dress and produced a wand. "Let's see what we can do about this mess. It's quite the mess!" The old lady already knew what had happened to the Enchanted characters, but she didn't know how to fix the problem. She had magic, but she didn't have enough of it to awaken the whole town. Instead, she decided that she could do something else... She did not come here without a plan, after all.

She bippity-boppity-booped herself from one building and home to the next; acquiring items and placing them in a seemingly endless magic bag. Underneath everyone's doors, except for the villains that were well-aware of Essex and its true nature, were given invitations to a formal silent auction event at the city hall. For those vile beings that still retained their memories, she had something else - magic that would put them to sleep for twenty-four hours. That would be enough time to allow everyone else to enjoy the event and get back what belonged to them - their memories.

The Enchanted Realm was falling apart due to key characters having been ripped away and thrown into this prison. It is time for them to come home, but they'd have to remember who they are, first.

As quietly as the Fairy Godmother came, she seemed to disappear. But not back into the Enchanted Realm, rather as the out-of-town host to the black-tie event.

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And that is where the citizens of Storybook are tonight on a warm summer evening around 6 pm at city hall. Upon entering they are greeted by a humble doorman, and the normally bland interior is alight with grandeur, enchantment and alive with gentle classical music.

Mrs. Picket is there to greet them with a smile on her face, directing everyone toward the grand hall that had been refurbished into a room fit for dance, entertainment, and food.

Hugging one of the walls are long tables that have items to be silently auctioned off. Little to the knowledge of the Enchanted characters, they are items that belonged to them in their fairytale origins. They feel compelled to bid on their trinkets, no matter how absurd they were or how little money they had. Every so often, a little magic would make sure that no one was outbid by either erasing higher bids or placing an extra zero or two by certain names.

Mrs. Picket operated under the notion that all money would be donated to charity, but there'd be no money at all. Mrs. Picket was putting all of her faith, the lives of those still in the Enchanted Realm, in the hands of these few. This was the only way to begin breaking the spell Jafar cast upon the town.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Scarrott Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt Character Portrait: Adrien Duval Character Portrait: Mahin Hassud
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#, as written by mombie
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P a i s l e y x L a w r e n c e

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b e l l e
#D35950 || Outfit || Location

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D u m a i n e x L e R o u x

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#4B0082 || Outfit || Location

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It had been a great day. Well, about as great as a day in Essex could get when your soul didn't quite belong and yearned for freedom. Paisley had taken an impromptu hike in the mountains, just to clear her mind. She never enjoyed the walls of her cabin much anyhow. This adventurous mind had craved something outside of being cooped up within four walls or even being out in the streets of a mundane town with people that did mundane things. Regardless, the air morphed from hot to crisp cool air when she ascended, and it felt nice. It felt like freedom - the kind she no longer had.

She had stood at a good peak and peered down at the town. She could have sworn that there wasn't this much desolation on her way in, but then again, that memory had long since faded. It wasn't important. Her life had gone from high speed to low drag, and she was no in the middle of nowhere with a sudden urge to do just that; go nowhere, yet there was this other half of her that wanted to go everywhere.

Why was this life so confusing?

By the time she had made it down the less beaten mountain trail, the sun had fallen, but Paisley was not afraid of the dark. With a sigh, she pushed open the door to her quaint cabin, placed her keys on a side table, and looked down at the invitation she had set them on. Paisley supposed that she could go to such a fancy event. It would be... fun, maybe? At the very least, she could kick off her heels and dance with Lorelei.

She slipped into a fancy pants suit to flatter her petite physique. The neck plunged deeply, but she didn't have quite as much breast for it all to be falling out. When she finished putting it together, adorned it with a pair of black open-toed heels, and made the proper adjustments as she looked into the mirror, she felt she appeared... elegant, classy - not trashy.

She picked up a small clutch on her way out of the door and pinned it beneath her arm.

As minutes ticked by, Paisley was soon on the streets of the normally quiet town. It was sort of more alive as townsfolk made their way to the City Hall, which was aglow in the center. As she stopped paying attention to her surroundings to delve into her daydream of what the event may be, she bumped into none other than Essex's favorite (or not depending on who you were) tax man, Dumaine.

"O-oh, I'm sorry, Dumaine," she apologized as she knelt down to pick her fallen clutch from the sidewalk.

Dumaine smirked and knelt down with her, "What kinna'man would ah be if ah got upset over being run inta by a beautiful woman like ya, Paisley?" A light chuckle followed that statement, and he picked her clutch up to hand her when they both rose.

She also chuckled a bit, but it was not cute by any means. Dumaine was... oddly disarming. Handsome, yes. His eyes were enchanting, especially when they creased at the corners uniquely as he offered one of those charming smiles. Yet, he was also like her - desiring something more than this life. If anyone could call this a life at all, so she gave him the benefit of the doubt. He can come off as a little blunt, but she didn't mind that. Maybe there was something about his character that bothered her for some reason, but for now, she tried to save her judgment. He's never done anything to her.

Dumaine walked by her side as it seemed they were headed for the same event, "Ah saw ya comin' in late. Out adventurin' again?"

Paisley clutched her purse lightly at the lap of her slacks and looked over at Dumaine with a gentle smile, "Yes. You know, it would do you some good to get some fresh air instead of being cooped up in that stuffy office." It was a light scolding, naturally, but she was always trying to get him to go outside. It was almost like he was allergic to the great outdoors.

She really didn't have anyone to go on hikes with.

"Naw, cherie, I prefer ta not be surrounded by all that...that..." He got stuck and she cut in.

"Nature?" She laughed at him a bit and shook her head, "I guess it's not for everyone. It would be nice to have someone that enjoyed the outdoors a little bit more. You know?" She sighed a dreamy sigh at that, and Dumaine nodded slowly.

"Feelin' trapped. Ah know, chere. Ah know," he replied softly as he opened the door to the city hall for her. He naturally let Paisley go in first before coming in right behind her.

They were both greeted by Mrs. Picket and given their numbers. Dumaine went his separate way, and that left Paisley to search the hall for someone that she knew. Preferably Lorelei. Of course, she had to travel by Adrien, who was the most disgusting man in town. As she walked by him, she gave one of her "bless your heart" quips, "You are looking positively odious today, Adrien." She gave him her best saccharine smile and fluttered away just as something sparked in the corner of her eyes.

It was a mirror, but it didn't look like anything spectacular. She picked it up and flipped out from front to back and took extra care to survey the fine details. The decore was strange; the head of a lion coupled with a delicate rose. A rose and a beast; how strange. It felt heavier than other handheld mirrors. She didn't need it, so she put it down. When she walked away, she found herself walking backward a few steps before turning around to place a small bid on it. Two hundred dollars would suffice, right? She doesn't know why she wants to put a price on it, but she wasn't going to give up everything she had.

Dumaine had placed a small bid on a cane. It matched his smooth violet suit, and he thought he'd look rather dashing with it. There was no other reason - at least, he didn't think so. He made for the food immediately, of course. He stood at the long tables covered in delicacies and picked at chocolate truffles like a delighted child.

Paisley might have gone over to Lorelei, but she seemed occupied with someone else. Just as she thought she might have just walked away for good, she decided to go over anyway. Paisley was a sweet woman and she befriended most people in town, even if no one wanted to get lost in the woods with her.

"Good evening! Don't you two look absolutely ravishing!" Paisley complimented both Lorelei and Liana.

As she spoke to the pair of gals, her eyes flit from one guest to the next. She snagged the gaze of Adrien for a quick second but swiftly looked away. He likely didn't notice as he was quite busy with Liesl anyhow. Then she caught Ricardo, whom she's rarely seen. He simply nodded at her and went back to doing whatever it was that he did during these things; lurk.

Then there was Roman, and he was so handsome. A bit burly and rough looking, which kind of made her wonder about a lot of things - good and bad. His attire suited what she thought his personality must be like; carefree and roaming. He spoke to Hassud, a woman that every other woman in the world can admire.

Grayson was here as well, which surprised her. He looked tired. Paisley has come to like having the local cop around, as he has gotten her out of a few messes when her adventuring became more like disasters. He was right, she didn't know his first name, but he was so busy that there wasn't time to be more well-acquainted. She was a bother, too, getting into little messes just because being home was too... suffocating. She waved at him the moment he looked around and caught her staring.

John Waldmann. Every once in a while, when his usual babysitters were busy, she'd get the pleasure of watching his children. She has an ungodly amount of patience for little ones. His late wife was a fine connoisseur of her steamy mystery novels, and he was one of the first people to strike up easy conversation with her. They grab a cup of coffee from time to time, and you know what - he's the town's Hot Dad for good reason. She jumped up and down, as she's quite small and easily lost in the growing crowd, to wave at him like a goofy googly-eyed girl. So, maybe he has also grown on her as much as his kids have. It happens.

After her not-so-subtle display of excitement at seeing certain faces, she was content to melt back into the conversation at hand. Whatever that was. There were so many people coming together here all for one night, and that was rare in this sleepy town.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Grayson Hughes Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt Character Portrait: Ricardo Trujillo Character Portrait: Lorelei Voigt Character Portrait: Liana Roth
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#, as written by mombie
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#4d2915 || Outfit || City Hall

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He had been content to quietly pace the hall, looking at this item then at that. Wondering why on earth half of this shit was here. Maybe bidding on one thing or another. He had also happened to peek at Lorelei, jotting a quick note mentally that she had spent enough time on the quill for him to guess it was something of interest to her. He'd have to deal with that a bit later, as it didn't seem she was placing any wagers on it. Then again, it wouldn't surprise him. He wasn't sure if Adrien paid her for whatever work she did for him.

Just as he might have rounded a table corner to do just that - bid on the swan feather quill, the lecherous redhead caught him. As polite as ever, he paused midstep and took the offered champaign flute. However, he set out down on the table behind him because he had a very low tolerance to light alcohol.

"Didn't anyone ever tell you 'no one puts baby in a corner'. Ricardo Trujillo. You are looking particularly fine this evening," the vixen was practically purring at him in that salacious tone of hers. Liesl was on the prowl, and it took a predator to know another one. They were very much alike, only it looked bad on her. In his eyes, anyway.

Still, he was a gentleman, and there was no denying his nature. He would entertain her for a time. "You're quite a sight yourself, Miss. Voigt," he replied. Just because he didn't necessarily enjoy her coming onto him like something to eventually be conquered didn't mean that he couldn't also be honest. Liesl was gorgeous, and if he didn't have eyes for someone else - she'd have been a good hit and quit. And not kindly, either.

"So, what is a handsome bachelor such as yourself doing all the way over here all alone?"

He didn't answer that. It was a question that he didn't have much of an answer to. Why was he here? For charity of course, but she really wasn't interested in that. This was all small-talk for someone like her. In fact, Ricardo let the woman rattle off at the mouth. He didn't even care to look up at any of her proposed women, seeing as he rarely gave the ladies of Essex any attention at all. Especially not this one attaching herself to him right now.

Liesl said something about Lorelei, but it didn't bother him. Insults didn't do anything for him, and maybe she was jealous. Jealous that the only men she could grab treated her like trash and better men couldn't care less that she existed. While all t these thoughts drifted through his head, he gave her his utmost attention - eyes locked on her, and even his body mirrored some of her gestures as is sometimes socially typical during interactions between two or more people. He didn't mind that she touched him, or that she was in his intimate space.

Then she stepped in front of him, completely eclipsing her sister unabashed. Liesl ignited certain primal urges in men, but these were fleeting. Sex. Physical attraction. Even Ricardo was susceptible to his blood rushing at her now even closer proximity and how her delicate fingers played with his tie as another palm rested against his chest. On the other hand, Lorelei admittedly gave him the same primal urges, yet also the most concrete of them all - that basic animal instinct to protect. That was the only real difference between what the twins did for him.

Unfortunately for Liesl, even though she had gotten him a bit heated, he could control his temptations. Sex and physical attraction were not enough to make Ricardo jump out of his clothes.

"Plus, who wants a Saint when you can have a sinner? Whoever said blondes have more fun never had a ginger."

He placed a hand on her side; his large fingers curling firmly, yet not too tightly, around her small waistline. He pulled her into him, as if there was any distance to spare, leaned down so that he could whisper against her neck, and swept some of her hair away to make sure she would hear him fully. His words were dark, and maybe they'd be a little surprising coming from such a gentleman. Then again, he's known for his more traditional gender views, so maybe she won't be taken too aback. "I'm a bit of a sinner myself, Miss. Voigt. Why have defiled goods when I could have something... untouched? Personally, I think that's much more fun. Don't you?" No, he didn't know anything about Lorelei, but he did have his stereotypical assumptions.

In a matter of two minutes, he had completely insulted her and watched her wet dream crash to the floor at her feet. He had lingered only for a short few seconds after his words before he withdrew and brushed some of the red hair he had displaced back over her shoulder. The backs of his knuckles swept just barely over her collarbone, and perhaps a bit lower than that.

Then, to add insult to injury, he coerced her aside with that hand on her waist, only to make his way to none other than her sister, Lorelei, and the crew of ladies - and now one other guy, Grayson. Was he comfortable? No, but it was about that time for him to deliver Liesl a low blow and also maybe do something other than just stalk the blond to death.

"Grayson - like the suit," he stated casually, not wanting to be that one guy that enters a group of mostly women and ignores the one other man there. That, and he could appreciate a less flamboyant style of suit. Then he flashed his most charming smile, and in his deep and slightly accented tones, "You ladies are looking lovely tonight." He would compliment them all, as he was the most polite to women that weren't named Liesl. Even then, at least Ricardo touched her - so she should really be grateful he gave her that much.

"Anything interesting?" He inquired, making room in the small throng to stand next to Lorelei. Their shoulders touched - rather, her shoulder touched his bicep, more likely.

He believes he made his point, and now he's making his move (kind of). The redhead was a blessing in disguise.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Lux Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Adrien Duval Character Portrait: Lorelei Voigt Character Portrait: Liana Roth Character Portrait: Rowan Renou
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XXXXXXKiana T'Nae
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XXXXXKisa The Cat | Outfit | #0443C4
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"Fuck!" Kiana was still driving around trying to find a place to park. They ended up finding a spot down the street from the town hall. It would be a little bit but that's what happens when you're late. Kiana got out of the car, quickly grabbing their purse, then making a b-line to the event. Quickly making their way up the stairs into the building they ended up nearly knocking a woman over. "Woah, you okay their hun? There is no need to rush" The woman at Kiana. "S-sorry Ma'am." Kiana said, still trying to catch their breath "I Just didn't wanna be late, while any later than I am already" Kiana chuckled and rummaged through their purse to pull out their invitation. "While you're here now, That's all that matters" the woman grabbed the card from Kiana's hand. "Everyone inside the main room already, here take this" She handed Kiana a ticket with a number #198 on it "That's your bidding number, if you find anything you like make sure to use that'' Kiana took it and made their way into the crowd with a deep sigh.

Kiana strutted through the room of odd trinkets, well aware of the gazes of the more high class falling on them. They loved to make themselves known, and with this being one of their first days back in town they wanted to make a statement. Kiana grabbed themselves a seat at the bar, slightly swinging their legs back and forth. Waiting until the bartender finished making some kind of whisky on rocks for a man at the bar. "Hey, can I get a..." scrunching their face trying to figure out what exactly they wanted. "one Vodka Cran'' They pulled out their ID for the man behind the bar and paid him. Still seated at the bar overlooking the room of people trying to figure out who to make small talk with. There were three women on one side that Kiana debated about going up to, but ultimately chose not as they seemed too deep in conversation already. Sipping on their drink their eyes fell to someone standing alone in a red dress. They seemed interesting enough, were alone, and looked like they could use someone to talk to. Kiana finished their drink and started to make their way over to them.

As they moved through the room a blond woman who wasn't looking where she was going crashed into them, knocking Kiana to the ground. "Oh my, I'm so sorry" the woman put out her hand to help Kiana back to her feet. Kiana laughed "Hey it's okay, I'm not hurt." Kiana looked down to brush themselves off. "Probably better it was me than one of the more uptight people" Kiana looked back up to see the woman had already left. "Okaaay then" Kiana rolled their eyes and resumed walking down the isles. Kiana was about to turn a corner when something interesting caught their eye. "What is this?" Kiana studied what looked like an old, hand-made fox mask. "Looks like some sort of festival mask" Kiana didn't know why, they knew they didn't actually have a use for a battered mask, but they wanted it. They placed a bid of $300 a price they were fine with raising if need be.

Kiana finally turned the corner to introduce themselves to the girl in red, but it was too late they weren't there anymore. "Great." Kiana didn't just want to wander around the hall like a lost child, so they went outside to have a smoke.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Grayson Hughes Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt Character Portrait: Ciaran Paine Character Portrait: Ricardo Trujillo
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John Waldmann
The Huntsmanx|xOutfitx|x#27352C

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John watched closely as Grayson described the state of the police station. The place was corrupt under Frank's leadership and they both knew it but only Grayson was determined to make a difference, that determination was what made John respect him. If Jane hadn't died back then maybe they would've worked alongside each other to end the corruption but sadly that wasn't the case.

He had to protect and provide for his family and if he had walked down that path he may have put them in jeopardy. He couldn't risk leaving his children without a father so he chose to walk away from that life and pursue a more financially rewarding occupation and started his own private investigation firm. There were still risks but he was less likely to face the business end of a weapon as a civilian.

"New day, same shit. Unfortunately." As Grayson pinched the bridge of his nose John nodded knowingly. "It's hard to get anything done when I'm the only cop who actually works . . . Someday though."
John smiled and hoped that Grayson was right, for his sake at least, but he doubted anything would change.

As Grayson's eyes were drawn away John followed his gaze, seeing a group of women a few tables over. John recognized most of them, you tend to in a small town. He was most acquainted with Paisley, the two had met and befriended each other after John recognized her as Jane's favorite author. Paisley was embarrassed initially because of the content of her stories, which John would make light jokes of, but their friendship grew to the point John trusted her enough to leave his children in her care.

Seeing Paisley waving while jumping up and down brought a smile to John's face. He found the scene both funny and charming, wondering if she had written anything like that in one of her novels. John waved back and gestured that he would come over later. While doing so he noticed Liana, the local veterinarian.

There was something about her that drew his gaze but he couldn't quite understand why. The two didn't interact much aside from in passing, as she was in Paisley's circle of friends, but whenever they did he could sense something similar to the feeling he had with Nora, some sort a familiarity. He questioned that feeling but his instincts had proven to be quite reliable so he couldn't help but wonder why he felt such feelings.

"Two hundred dollars?!" The exclamation of the person next to John drew his attention. "Wouldn't your gun be more effective?" The person who asked Grayson a similar question to John's earlier one was a local contractor and carpenter, Ciaran Paine. John didn't know much about him aside from what he learned from Grayson and from observing him while they were both in the bar. He seemed like a good enough guy despite his past troubles with law enforcement.

He watched as Grayson was unamused by his friend's comments on his bid and walking off to view items on other tables. Ciaran looked apologetic as he said he was sorry before Grayson walked away. John felt a little sorry for both Grayson and Ciaran but didn't voice his opinion, the two were close so they would settle it among themselves. He was about to comfort Ciaran and strike up a conversation with him until he saw his eyes drawn towards a sword and dagger and also walking away.

John was a little concerned about both people leaving him in a social gathering. Weren't people suppose to socialize and make meaningless small talk at such events? Why did they both not want to engage in such conversations with him? He wondered if there was something off about him, checking his clothes and smelling his body and breath, but he couldn't find anything that would make people walk away from him. It was probably because of their short interaction but John still wondered if he had done something wrong.

His cellphone began to vibrate in his suit jacket, so he pulled it out and looked through his messages. The text he just got was from his Sam, reminding him to bring her back something and that she wanted cookies and cream ice-cream. He replied with a short message saying that he might and that they should bother uncle Ben later during the week, to which he received a series of emojis he couldn't translate. Children and their hieroglyphs.

After messaging his children John looked to see if Nora had replied, she hadn't. John found it strange that she wasn't at the gala and that she hadn't replied but thought better than to bother her needlessly about it. She was a very capable person and she probably wouldn't like being nagged to death. Still it bothered him that she wasn't answering and he wondered if he should visit her place afterwards.

Putting his phone back into his suit jacket, John looked around among the guests and thought about who he should approach. He thought about approaching uncle Ben but thought he shouldn't tease him at the moment, he would do that later with his kids. There were a few people he didn't recognize that he could possibly introduce himself but John preferred to observe people before trying to befriend them. He then remembered he already promised to talk with Paisley earlier so he decided to walk towards the large group that was forming around her.

When he arrived their group had expanded to six, including the reclusive millionaire Ricardo Trujillo. John had always been curious about Ricardo, wondering why he chose to live reclusively. There were a few rumors surrounding him about how he obtained his wealth and because he barely interacted with people outside his circle but John didn't think much about such rumors. He didn't have the need or desire to look into whether or not any of those rumors were true and as long as it didn't bother John, his friends, or his children, he would leave the man alone.

"Grayson - like the suit." Looking at Grayson's suit John couldn't help but think that Ricardo was joking. Ricardo then smiled and addressed the ladies, saying, "You ladies are looking lovely tonight." That was something they could agree on, all of the women tonight looked beautiful.

Whenever such thoughts entered his mind however John couldn't help but think of his late wife, Jane. He missed his wife dearly and thought about her every day. His in-laws had advised him to move on, saying Jane wouldn't want to see him suffering without her, but whenever he thought about it he thought he was betraying her. After a couple years John had started to date but he felt conflicted. He didn't know if he could love someone as much as he should because of his love towards his late wife and he didn't think that was fair to them.

After Ricardo's comments, John couldn't help but see Liesl behind him. She didn't look pleased but she was usually good at restraining her emotions so maybe he interpreted her look wrong. Her eyes were watching Ricardo and Lorelie closely, especially when the two touched. John pretended to not see anything and tried to draw Liesl's attention, giving her a less than subtle wink. He didn't know what happened but he felt like she needed some form of comfort.

"Anything interesting?" John could think of several things but perhaps this wasn't the event to bring up old investigations and the dirty secret lives of others. Besides, it looked like much more interesting things were about to transpire here tonight.

John walked towards Paisley, nudging her slightly with his elbow and saying, "Maybe this isn't interesting to everyone but I was wondering about your next novel. Is it going to be just as 'steamy' as the last and if so who is going to be the titular characters?" He then looked towards Liana and Grayson. "Maybe it's about a couple who can't be together because of extenuating circumstances . . ." John then looked towards Liesl and Lorelie. ". . . Or perhaps it's about a love rivalry between identical twins."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Grayson Hughes Character Portrait: Ciaran Paine Character Portrait: Ricardo Trujillo Character Portrait: Lorelei Voigt
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#, as written by Caille
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Olive 'Liv' Fitzgerald
Wendy Darling | Outfit | #6ab6d9


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Liv knew that Ben wouldn’t disappoint when it came to alcohol in a flask. Although she hasn’t lived in Essex her whole life like quite a few residents have, and neither has Ben, she could safely say he was like one of her brothers. He was an easy target and a predictable one at that.

” Do I look like I work here? Fuck off.” Liv stifled a small laugh covering it with her hand to be a bit more discreet. “Now now, don’t ask questions you don't want to hear the answer to. Because I could have sworn you looked identical to the waiting staff here.” It was a low blow, but if they were going to fight her verbal fists were coming out.

Her hands clutched at the flash as her other hand twisted open the top part. She heard Ben saying that she could take a sip and she rolled her eyes. “You’re no fun, Benny.” Liv said as she then lifted the flask up and poured some of the contents down her throat. It was definitely more than a sip, but the light burning sensation that flowed down her chest was just enough liquid encouragement to make this sort of event bearable.

The redhead closed it and handed it back to Ben. ” Think the bar’s that way, bet they have all the fruity drinks you can get your hands on. Probably water the shit down, though.” Ben commented and she saw the direction he was pointing in. She would probably find her way there but scoffed at the thought of fruity drinks. “If I wanted a spiked punch, I would sneak into the prom.” Liv was close to having zero patience left, but that was when Ben announced his leave.

”I didn’t come here to talk to you.” the words echoed in her head, but left as soon as they registered. “Have fun, be safe! Don’t do anything Liv would do!” She said teasing him one last time as she saw him sneak off into the crowd. She was clearly amused with herself and had no thought on how others even looked at her.

"Why do you let him speak to you like that?" Liv was about to turn on her heel and make it to the bar. A classic rum and coke were speaking to her, but none of that paint thinner white rum crap, a good smooth Cuban rum or any spiced dark rum would do. At the last minute, someone else came up to talk to her.

Liv turned to look at him, she knew him from around town, and she looked him up and down. “Excuse me?” She laughed a little bit while shaking her head. “I’m not some proper lady that needs to cover my ears from profanity for one, for two the words I say to Ben are much worse and you may want to check in on him rather. Lastly, a good ol’ bant never hurt anyone.” She said with a bit of a smirk crossing her face.

The ginger would be damned if she was put in the shoes of some helpless woman who couldn’t defend herself. She had no time to pretend to be stupid to get the male attention, it wasn’t worth it. She could see his subtle clues to checking her out, and although Liv didn’t care she may as well cause some chaos about it.

“Now, I am absolutely parched, I’m headed to the bar to get a drink. You can either stare at my ass while I leave and be wishful the whole evening or you can accompany me and maybe you’ll get beyond the wishful part.” She said with a small grin, as none of her words were hostile with Ciaran, and she had just been quite open with him, throwing the ball back in his court.

Liv turned so her back was facing him and she looked over her shoulder to him, “I’m going to start walking now. If you’re not next to me by the time I get to the bar, I won't be offended, but I will assume you’ve decided to be wishful tonight.” She said with a light laugh and turned her head back to face the front as she sauntered off towards the bar.





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Liana Roth
Snow White | Outfit | #7b678a


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Talking with Lorelei and focusing on just the two of them helped with some of her anxiety tied to this event. The charity was something that Liana and Greg usually did together, but he was working late tonight with surgery, so it was best if one of them showed up and the other would trickle in later.

Liana was thankful that Lorelei wasn’t off in the clouds with her thoughts and she got a reply back. She listened to what she had to say about the swan quill while browning items on the auction table herself. "Quill, actually." She heard her friend specify and she nodded, making note that not much had drawn her to bid money on, but she knew she would have to find something.

"Not that I know how to use one." followed along with the words that maybe Paisley should acquire the quill instead caught Liana’s attention away from this green hat she had been staring at.

“Lorelei, I think if you are holding it and viewing it, you want it. Just bid on it. You can always have it on display instead of using it.” Then she leaned in a bit closer for only Lorelei’s ears and talked quietly, “I can cover some of your bid, don't worry about it.” She said and knew her friend probably would refuse the help, but she had to make sure she at least offered it.

As Liana turned back around to place a bid on the green hat, she wrote her number down and just put a small bid for now. She didn’t want to deter anyone from bidding on something they would like and she’d honestly probably bid on a few things.

It was only a few seconds later that she heard another voice, "Good evening! Don't you two look absolutely ravishing!" and she could only recognize it as Paisley. A smile formed on her face as she noticed the absolutely stunning dress she was wearing. It had a deep neckline, but Paisley rocked it. “Are you looking in a mirror, Paisley? Look at you!” The brunette exclaimed as she gestured to her friend. “It is classy but still very flirty.” Liana’s smile dipped a little as she heard what Lorelei was saying about Adrien. Her eyebrows knitted together as she sighed.

"I got a lecture from Mr. Duval before coming here... About how exquisitely wrong my dress is."

“Do not listen to that wretched man, your dress is beautiful, but only someone like you could make it shine the way it does.” Liana said, being very sincere. She hated the way Mr.Duval treated Lorelei, but there wasn’t a whole lot she could do about it.

Liana’s eyes scanned the room, until out of her peripherals she could see Paisley waving at someone until she heard her say his name. Her eyes met with John’s and sure she knew about him and knew he was in town, but she never really interacted with him much. There was a strange feeling she got when she looked at him, part of her felt fear but also a relief. There was a sense of familiarity when looking at his eyes, but she decided to ignore that.

"Oh come on, don't make me beg. Liana already has the dreamy fiancé. Let me live vicariously through you." to this Liana laughed, but then spoke up, “Lorelei, stop living through people and live for yourself a little.” She teased before she was startled a little bit by a hand being gently placed at the center of her back.

Immediately her head turned to look over her shoulder, she knew it wasn’t Greg, but she was surprised to see Gray.

"Sorry ladies, I didn't mean to interrupt," Grayson apologized. When Liana's gaze met his, he smiled. "You look... nice." She could feel her heartbeat a little faster at the mention, but she nodded and mumbled a thank you before speaking, “you look quite nice yourself, I like the suit.” She said softly before turning her head back to see Ricardo.

"You ladies are looking lovely tonight." He mentioned not before complimenting Gray. Ricardo was a good guy and was a true gentleman, Liana didn’t have anything negative to say from her own experience.

"Anything interesting? ” he asked, and Liana took this as her chance to maybe help Lorelei live a tiny bit. “Lorelei was just looking at this swan’s quill. I’ve been trying to convince her she should get it, what do you think of it?” She asked, gesturing to the quill in Lorelei’s hand.

What Liana wasn’t prepared for today were the words that fell out of John Waldman’s mouth when he was talking to Paisley. "Maybe it's about a couple who can't be together because of extenuating circumstances . . ." why was he looking towards her and Gray? Is that what people thought? Did Greg think anything more of it? Liana could feel herself getting warm and flushed. She needed to be graceful about this if she were going to sneak out.

Liana laughed about John’s suggestions before adding in something of her own, “Perhaps it's more of an adventurous story. Paisley loves adventures.” She said, noting that she didn’t end up making a funny suggestion as she could have. Liana began to slowly drink the rest of her drink before just drinking the rest and setting the glass down.

“If you all will excuse me, I believe I’m in need of a new drink and I might check out the rest of the night's activities.” She said and bowed out. That situation was turning into way too many people for her comfort.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt Character Portrait: Adrien Duval Character Portrait: Ricardo Trujillo Character Portrait: Lorelei Voigt
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#, as written by mombie
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P a i s l e y x L a w r e n c e

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b e l l e
#D35950 || Outfit || Location

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Paisley had attempted not to laugh in Adrien's face as her insult went way over his bulbous head. Amusing as it was.

"Speak for yourselves. I got a lecture from Mr. Duval before coming here... About how exquisitely wrong my dress is," Lorelei said.

Paisley scoffed, "I said Mr. Duval was 'positively odious' and he took it as a compliment. I would take anything he said with a grain of salt." Her tone was near a whisper as if it was just a secret shared between the three ladies so that they could giggle about Adrien's stupidity.

Of course, the blonde managed to catch Paisley jump waving at John in a clearly inappropriate dress - as if her boobs were not just hanging out. Lorelei immediately teased her, but this was common among them. "What was that? Don't tell me your crushing on the local hot dad?"

Paisley did not turn beat red like some might. She's hardly embarrassed by the notion that she pined for the 'Local Hot Dad'. A hand flicked through the air dismissively, "I don't think I am his type. I happen to think Mr. Waldmann and I are good friends enough to acknowledge one another. No?" She reminded Lorelei gently, sorry to disappoint her by squashing all notion of romance.

When Liana spoke up, “Lorelei, stop living through people and live for yourself a little,” Paisley pointed a finger at her in a gesture that would silently agree with the point made.

Whilst in conversation with the ladies, a few of the gentlemen had also wiggled their way into the group. Unlike her other gal pals, she didn't mind the crowd. One would call her quite the social butterfly, and she's always happy to see more friendly faces all mingling together. Typically, people spent far too much time wrapped up in their own little worlds. For a small town like Essex, it could certainly feel like being trapped in a big world all by one's lonesome. Or maybe that was just her.

Many things were happening all at once and her peripherals were prone to catching the nuances of social situations. Lorelei's attention had been on the interaction between Ricardo and Leisl, and there was no telling what happened there. It looked like a pretty steamy connection, but at the same time, it didn't. Ricardo had come here, and while she hadn't properly addressed him, she did notice.

"Maybe this isn't interesting to everyone but I was wondering about your next novel. Is it going to be just as 'steamy' as the last and if so who is going to be the titular characters? Maybe it's about a couple who can't be together because of extenuating circumstances . . . Or perhaps it's about a love rivalry between identical twins." That was John's voice, and it made her chuckle. No, she wasn't flirty with the man - as much as she crushed on him in silence. He's handsome, a father, a man's kind of man, and that was something rare here. Well, at least the kind fatherly part anyway. She had this strange feeling that a woman like her wasn't much his type, so she was happy to call him one of her good friends and steal his children for a trip to the lake to feed some ducks when they were feeling antsy from being trapped in a house.

She engaged with him like any casual friend, bearing that same smile as she'd give to anyone else without special favor. "You know, I haven't actually written anything for quite some time. Your suggestions are very tempting," She replied with that super sunny disposition to her tone; her clutch pinned between her palms and the lap of her attire. "I'll make sure to let you know when I get started." Something about Essex has erased her will to write, or maybe it had - instead - inspired something else entirely. She wasn't quite sure, but she could say that her enthusiasm for something as mundane as some smut is dying a slow death.

The brunette watched as Liana went through all the motions of being absolutely flustered, and she elbowed John hard in the side - or wherever her elbow would reach given their height difference. “Perhaps it's more of an adventurous story. Paisley loves adventures.”

Shortly after, Liana decided to part ways with the group, and Paisley would attribute this mostly to John's lack of social tact. Not that it mattered. She wasn't much for being around a ton of people, and that was fair. It's not for everyone.

After waving Liana off, she turned her body to fully face John. "Now that you're certainly about to disperse the happy crowd, how is your night?" The words were harsh, but she had such a playful tone that it was hard not to take it as a jest.

Then her eyes drifted toward Liesl again, but in a subtle and swift way before they fled back to John without a beat missed. The fiery redhead was probably more of the Hot Dad's speed, and she was happy - at least outwardly - to let him go. It wasn't as if no one noticed the way he winked at her, after all. Paisley liked to think herself very scene aware. "Don't let me hold you up, hmm? I'm sure you have better company to keep." In a platonic gesture, she gently tapped his wrist and urged him along with that same smile she'd held for him all along.

That left Lorelei and Ricardo (if John took her suggestion for him to go mingle with someone more in his league), and for some reason, it felt very awkward. Yet, she also didn't want to leave the pair by themselves. That would break some serious girl code. She didn't really know Ricardo, aside from the fact that he's always been very quiet and kept to himself. It wasn't as if she hadn't noticed that he might appear in all the same places Lorelei frequents from time to time, it was just that it hadn't been a serious enough issue for her to care.

Curious, though. Very curious. It would be good for Lorelei to have some kind of companionship, and even some sort of protection against the nasty treatment of Adrien, but there were plenty of rumors to suggest that he might not be all that different.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Lux Character Portrait: Roman Scarrott Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Grayson Hughes Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt
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#, as written by mjolnir
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roman scarrott
the geniex|xoutfitx|x#5890c9

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"You're one of those weirdos that watches my YouTube and leaves naughty comments, aren't you?" The woman's tone and body language made it very evident that she was making a light joke. And to be honest, even if she wasn't, Roman still might have taken it that way.

He let out a deep hearty laugh, one that would, no doubt, catch the attention of anyone nearby. "You caught me. It is I, MahinMakesMeMoist69." Ok, so the joke was a bit much. Roman hoped he didn't all but scare her away with his lewd humor. He meant nothing by it. Hopefully, she laughed at the joke rather than sneer at him in disgust. After all, she started it. But, it wouldn't be the first time Rome's jokes rubbed someone the wrong way. Some people are just too uptight for their own good.

"Going to order? I just got food myself, and I was thinking of grabbing a table." Mahin pointed towards the waiter as she spoke.

Roman hadn't realized how hungry he actually was until the idea of food was brought up. Instantly his stomach began to growl in protest. He raised his hand to pat the waiter on the shoulder. He obviously acts very appropriately for formal functions. "My guy... I'd kill for a big ass burger, fully decked, with a pint of Guinness." He smiled and gave the guy in the penguin suit a friendly wink as he left to place their orders. Rome was like a bull in a china shop when it came to formal gatherings. He was about as well mannered as a surfer.

Once the waiter was gone, Mahin addressed him once more before offering her right hand. "You can call me Mahin, though."

His hand was giant compared to hers, nearly swallowing it. But Roman still managed to be gentle, yet firm, when shaking it. "Roman Scarrott. But most people call me the Gypsy or that giant hairy guy." He laughed at his own jest. Truth was, most people didn't take the time to get to know his name before he was on the road again. And even then, they rarely ever sought out his attention enough to do anything other than pointing and saying hey you.

Roman's hands slipped into the pockets of his pants as he slowly trailed after Mahin. While she walked at a normal pace, he looked to be strolling leisurely. His long legs carried him at the same pace with fewer strides. "It's nice to be recognized. Didn't think my books reached towns like these."

"That I don't know of. I'm not from here. I'm sort of... A nomad?" His brows furrowed slightly as he tried to think of a better word for it, but came up blank. "I just kind of float from place to place. Live out of my van with my dog, Nan. I think I found your book in a small bookshop somewhere in Seattle."

Eventually the pair found their way to an empty table. "This place has the weirdest things for auction I have ever seen. Did anything catch your interest?" she commented before taking a seat.

Roman took a seat opposite her while his gaze drifted over to the tables filled with the strange array of items. "I can't say I've ever been to an auction. But the movies always make it seem like it'd be priceless art and Faberge eggs." He shrugged his shoulders slightly in confusion. He was not the person to ask when it came to auctions and their customs. "Yeah, I bid on a little oil lamp thing. I don't know," he laughed with a shrug. "I thought it looked neat. You?"

The food arrived with haste and neither one of them wasted any time before digging in. Roman's burger was giant. Luckily, so were his hands. Yet it still managed to be a bit of a challenge keeping it all together and getting it in his mouth. But man, was it delicious. He even offered Mahin a fry. He didn't know if she'd take one, finger foods at a formal event didn't seem very... proper. But it was good and Roman didn't care what people thought about him. He wasn't going to remain in town much longer anyway. Right?

His gaze lingered a bit while his mouth was full and Mahin ate. Roman didn't know much of anyone in the town. He saw the vet who helped with Nan. He smiled but she didn't notice him. He'd probably talk to her at some point in the evening. Then there was Liv and Ben from the diner, which were probably the closest to friends someone like him could get when passing through a town. He also caught glimpse of a mysterious looking guy getting very close with a red head. Roman diverted his gaze towards his glass as he took a big swig of beer. Not his place to have a thought one way or another.

"You don't have a girlfriend, do you?" Roman coughed, choking on a piece of his burger. He was an easy going man and had heard the question before, yes, but that didn't mean he wasn't surprised. It came out of left field. He never quite understood why people always seemed so interested in his relationship status, but he was flattered nonetheless. "Asking just because you know my face, so you must have someone. And also, yes - I am also just wondering just because it's 2021 and I can."

Roman took a sip of his beer to calm his throat before replying. "Is it that hard to believe a man could be a feminist?" He picked up on her implication that the knowledge he has of her and her book had to be because he had a lady friend. And while he could understand someone making that assumption, he might have thought someone as modern as Mahin might have seen it a different way. "I prefer to think of myself as more of an 'equalist'. Some feminist out there are a little too radical for my taste. But I think every deserves to be treated based on their merits as a human being, not by what's between their legs, who they fuck or what they look like."

"And no. I don't have a girlfriend... Or a boyfriend. Life on the road doesn't really give me much of a chance to set down roots." He took a second to eat the last bite of his burger while it was warm and chased it with a drink. "But it does give me time to read." Roman smirked playfully as he brought his glass to his lips. He wasn't chastising or scolding Mahin. Simply poking a little fun at the irony of the situation. It takes much more than that to offend someone like Rome.

"And what about you? Any boyfriends?... Or better yet, girlfriends? I imagine a book like yours might have scared off more than a fair share of men. Not that it'd be much of a loss. I'm sure men like him," Roman pointed his index finger of the hand that held his drink toward Adrien. "Would call your book heresy."




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liesl voigt
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"You're quite a sight yourself, Miss. Voigt." Ever the gentleman. Although Liesl knew his compliment was out of politeness. Sure he meant it, of course he did. Look at her? She was a crimson headed bombshell, and she knew it. Most men in town knew it. But even that wasn't enough to turn Ricardo's attention toward her and not others. The man was an enigma. No one knew much of anything about him besides the fact that he locked himself away in his mansion more often than not. A lonely man like that could use some company.

While Liesl ran through the prospects for the night, Ricardo seemed to humor her. His gaze was fixed on hers, intent and engaged, yet never looked towards any of the women she mentioned. Was it her and only her that caught his attention? That would be a change of pace, no doubt. Liesl had been trying to seduce him for sometime, the man was stunning and in need of a little sexual attention. But she wasn't dumb either. He had always seemed less than interested in her advances, so what changed?

As she stood there, adjusting his tie, Ricardo's hand found her side. His fingers wrapped around her waist and pulled her closer until Liesl's chest was against his. She gasped. Her breasts heaved with every breath, pressing against him. He leaned in toward her ear, sweeping away her hair. She swallowed. Cold chills ran down her spine from the touch of his finger tips. "I'm a bit of a sinner myself, Miss. Voigt." A small smirk crossed her lips. She didn't care who saw. They could watch in jealousy for all she cared. "Why have defiled goods when I could have something... untouched? Personally, I think that's much more fun. Don't you?"

Liesl's grin fell. Her head that had been tilting back snapped upright to meet his gaze. Ricardo moved her crimson lock back to where it was before he moved it, then used his other hand on her waist to move her aside. She stood there in a silent shock as she watched him cross the room, beelining straight for her sister. Her gaze didn't move to another, nor did she blink. If anything it turned into daggers as she watched him move to stand right beside Lorelei without a care in the world.

When she went to look away, she nearly missed John looking in her direction. How much did he see? Liesl wasn't usually the type to get embarrassed, but if he saw everything that transpired who else did? She felt cheap and second rate to her pristine sister. But she tried her best to hide what she was feeling. John flashed her wink which made her smile, if only slightly. She pushed down whatever other feelings were boiling inside her and playfully blew him a kiss, before making her way towards the bar.

"I'll have a shot." Her gaze skimmed the bottles. "Whatever's strongest."

"I apologize miss, but are not serving shots."

She sighed. "Then the strongest liquor in a glass with ice and nothing else." The bartender didn't second guess her and quickly got to work on the drink. It was a tequila of some kind, it didn't really matter. Once she was given the drink Liesl downed it in a single gulp and slammed the glass back on the bar. "One more." Her index finger tapped the brim of the glass before she glanced over her shoulder, glaring at her sister.




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grayson hughes
robin hoodx|xoutfitx|x#99bfaa

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"You look quite nice yourself, I like the suit." Grayson looked down at his suit, subconsciously adjusting his tie and pressing down his collar. A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips. He opened his mouth to respond and thank her, but then another person joined the group. He didn't want to be awkward, but he already was. So rather than make it worse, he turned his attention back towards the hat on the table leaving his back toward the group of women.

"Grayson - like the suit."

His brows furrowed, a little confused as he looked down at his outfit. Grayson did a double take before looking back at Ricardo briefly. "Thanks." He tried to find something else to say but came up blank. What else could he say? You too? Of course Ricardo's suit was perfect. He was one of the richest people in Essex. The man probably bought a new suit for the event. Gray couldn't help but wonder if the compliment was genuine or a jest on his behalf. Ricardo didn't seem like the type to make him the butt of the joke, so he accepted the compliment and turned his attention back toward the hat.

While he wasn't necessarily part of the conversation, Grayson couldn't help but overhear what was said as he stood right beside them. He was easily able to make out John's voice as he joined the growing group. "Maybe this isn't interesting to everyone but I was wondering about your next novel. Is it going to be just as 'steamy' as the last and if so who is going to be the titular characters?" It sounded like he was talking to Paisley. Gray knew she wrote, but he hadn't asked her about her next book. Maybe it was because it wasn't his type of reading. Either way, he turned slightly to see what she might say.

John's gaze then moved to Liana and Grayson. "Maybe it's about a couple who can't be together because of extenuating circumstances . . ." Taken by surprise, Gray coughed. His hands fumbled with the hat, dropping it on the table before managing to anxiously shove it back on its stand. He missed whatever else John said as he tugged at his tie, loosening it slightly.

"Perhaps it's more of an adventurous story. Paisley loves adventures." It took a lot of self control for Grayson to keep himself from looking back towards the group. His hand nervously shook. He unbuttoned his sports coat trying to keep his fingers busy so no one noticed. "If you all will excuse me, I believe I’m in need of a new drink and I might check out the rest of the night's activities."

Out of the corner of his eyes he watched her leave the group and head in one direction. Grayson waited another beat or two before he left the table, heading in the opposite direction of Liana. He didn't dare put stock into John's words. Instead he headed outside for a bit of fresh air. The hall was getting far too hot and crowded for his liking.

Once he stepped out into the cool night's air, Grayson felt like he could breathe. He never liked being the center of attention, especially not when he felt like someone was airing secrets that even he hadn't come to terms with. He already felt bad enough for having feelings he couldn't explain for a woman who was engaged... But knowing other people saw it too made him nauseous. It wasn't his place. She wasn't his and he knew it. Gray tried his best to keep his feelings buried. He was stupid. He shouldn't spend so much time with her. It didn't help those feelings subside. Since they've started their morning coffees his feelings only seemed to grow.

Gray's hands rested on the railing that surrounded the raised entrance to city hall. His head fell slightly as he sighed. Why did she get nervous? Did she feel something for him too? No. No. He couldn't think like that. His hands pushed off the stone before he started pacing back and forth. Greg and him already were at odds since High School, that's all he needed was for rumors to get back to him that Gray wanted his fiancée. Shit. He rubbed the back of his neck with a sigh. God damn it, John.




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lorelei voigt
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"Do not listen to that wretched man, your dress is beautiful, but only someone like you could make it shine the way it does."

Lorelei smiled softly at Liana's words, but before she could respond Paisley also came in with her own comment. "I said Mr. Duval was 'positively odious' and he took it as a compliment. I would take anything he said with a grain of salt."

She laughed. Paisley's comment brought a genuine smile to her lips as she looked between the two girls. "I guess we should be thankful. If he was pretty, rich, and smart... I think we'd all be in danger." Adrien was a powerful enough man in Essex, heaven knows how much worse it would be if he actually had enough brains cells to rub together. And to be honest, he did... To some extent. No, he wasn't book smarts and the longest words he knew have three syllables but his street smarts could be scary. Lorelei knew how much his hands were in. He touched everything in their town and was managing to get away with it.

Whatever fun Lorelei was trying to have when it came to Paisley and John was quickly shot down. "I don't think I am his type. I happen to think Mr. Waldmann and I are good friends enough to acknowledge one another. No?"

Before she reply or pry further, Liana chimed in. "Lorelei, stop living through people and live for yourself a little." Paisley didn't say anything, but she pointed in silent agreement.

Lorelei sighed, rolling her eyes slightly. That was always what the conversation boiled down to at one point or another. They both knew it wasn't that simple not with family like hers or working for Adrien. Maybe someone else would tell them all to shove it and go about their lives by themselves. Maybe that's what she should do. But this was all that Lorelei knew. She was frightened of what her father, sister or even Adrien would do if one day she decided to stop and live her own life. While none of them have ever physically harmed her, it was something subconscious deep inside that kept her unmoving. Like she was a prisoner in her own life and there was nothing she could do about it.

The conversation died as more people quickly began to join their small group. Lorelei's gaze slowly drifted about the room. She idly looked at different gatherings of towns people but her eyes still found their way back to her sister. Now Liesl stood chest to chest with Ricardo. She watched as his head leaned in towards her sister's neck. But before anything else could happen she looked away and put on a smile, hoping no one saw what she did.

She watched as Grayson complimented Liana. Lorelei hadn't heard much about him beyond what Liana told her, mostly that the two of them have coffee together every morning in the diner. The Officer had always seemed like a kind and friendly man. So did Greg. She didn't quite know what was going on between the men and Liana. Her friend was never quite forthcoming. But something about Greg never quite sat right with her. She couldn't put her finger on it and she dare not say anything to her friend. In the end, whatever happened was Liana's choice. Lorelei just hoped she did what was right for her.

"Grayson - like the suit." She inhaled softly as she looked over her shoulder to see Ricardo. It seemed that recently, Lorelei had been running into him more and more around town. Or, at least, as much as she could for someone who rarely came out of his house. They never really spoke, just exchanged brief smiles or he'd hold the door for her. But on occasion, she'd notice his gaze lingering on her. He never tried to strike up a conversation and if she managed to catch him looking, he'd promptly leave and she wouldn't see him for several days.

But there he was. Ricardo joined their small group like it was no big deal. Like he did it all the time. Not a minute ago he looked two seconds from spiriting Liesl away into his limo for a good time and now he stood behind her. Lorelei was confused, but she tried her best not to show it. Still, there was a small knot that twisted in her gut. Jealousy. Her sister always made a game of going after any man that held her attention for more than a fleeting moment. Lorelei didn't even know how she felt about Ricardo... Just that he was handsome and polite... And he looked at her rather than Liesl. Or so she thought.

"You ladies are looking lovely tonight." Lorelei, just like the rest of the ladies, smiled and thanked him for the compliment. But she grew the faintest bit stiff as Ricardo made his way into the small circle standing so close that her shoulder brushed his arm. She tried not to look up at him, but every so often her gaze peeked up at him from the corner of her eyes. He confused her.

"Anything interesting?" Even though this question still seemed posed to the group, she couldn't help but feel like he was asking her.

Liana took the opportunity to speak up and put even more of the attention on Lorelei. "Lorelei was just looking at this swan’s quill. I’ve been trying to convince her she should get it, what do you think of it?"

Lorelei looked down at her hands, realizing the small quill was still cradled between her index fingers and thumbs. She gave Ricardo a slightly awkward smile as she felt a flush rush to her cheeks. "It's nothing. I just liked the feather," she said softly before she quickly set the quill back down on the table next to the ink well. "I'm not a writer anyway." Her gaze fell slightly as she brushed her hair behind her ears.

She hardly even noticed John as he joined the ever growing group. Everyone shifted making room for him as he promptly stood beside Paisley. "Maybe this isn't interesting to everyone but I was wondering about your next novel. Is it going to be just as 'steamy' as the last and if so who is going to be the titular characters?" His gaze then moved to Liana and Grayson, whose back was toward the group as he inspected an item on the table. "Maybe it's about a couple who can't be together because of extenuating circumstances . . ."

Grayson coughed and Liana quickly grew awkward and flushed. Even Lorelei felt uncomfortable at the comment. She tried to give her friend as sympathetic smile to reassure her, but it seemed that wasn't John's only suggestion. ". . . Or perhaps it's about a love rivalry between identical twins."

Her heart skipped a beat. She felt the blood rush from her head as she grew dizzy. Lorelei looked ghostly. She tried her best to remain calm and act unaffected, all the while her head was spinning. She put on a fake smile and even managed a convincing laugh. "No. Neither one of us know the first thing about love. You can't call it a rivalry if she always wins."

Before anyone could try to delve into that conversation further, Lorelei nodded her head with a smile. "If you'll excuse me." As she parted from the group her gaze found Ricardo's once more, but the second they locked she looked away.

Lorelei found her way to the nearest empty table. Her heart was pounding in her ears and she felt like the room was spinning. She nearly stumbled into the chair, sighing once her feet were off the ground. She couldn't figure out who handled John's exposure worse, Lorelei, Liana or Grayson. Considering she nearly passed out from embarrassment, money was on herself. Her elbows rested on the table while her hand held her forehead. Why did Ricardo have to come over there? Liesl was already putty in his hands. She would have slept with him in the middle of the dance floor for the whole town to see if that's what he wanted.

As she sat alone at the table, she dared not look up. Lorelei didn't want to see the faces of the people she left behind, judging her less that exquisite exit. Rather, she kept her gaze focused anywhere but them, instead content on watching someone who arrived late that nearly knocked over Mrs. Picket. She probably would have done the same if she wore heels that high, but luckily her butt was firmly planted in a seat so she wouldn't make the same mistake. Lorelei couldn't help but hope the auction would be coming to an end... soon.




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adrien duval
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Hugo smiled at Adrien's question, seeming relieved to be free of the woman's presence for the time being. "Elena. Just moved to town, she’s a teacher or something" He shrugged his shoulders. "Truth be told, she’s a little dull, but I get the sense that she’s eager to please."

Adrien chuckled as he sipped from his drink. "The quiet ones usually are. But they're always so damn clingy." He has had more than his fair of clingy run ins. The shy quiet girls were always the best when it came to sex, often virgins and willing to do whatever to make you happy. But they fall in love so quick that it's nearly impossible to get out unscathed. I mean, he isn't scared to break some hearts in the conquest of good sex. But really, it was just too much effort and a waste of time. Whoever told women that love was the end all be all obviously never had a mind blowing blow job.

"And what about you? You and Liesl looked pretty cozy."

He smirked, pausing as he brought his glass to his lips. "Well... We all know how Liesl is." Hell, all of Essex knew at this point. The list of men she hasn't slept with was shorter than the ones she has at that point. Surprisingly, Adrien hadn't jumped onto that bandwagon just yet. Perhaps part of him was hoping to crack Lorelei first. That would be a trophy that no one has touched. But the woman has proven to be quite the prude. He has needs. And from what he's heard from Hugo, Liesl is more than capable to fill them... In every position.

Adrien's gaze searched the room until it found the familiar mane of red hair. But to his horror, she was sidled up to none other than Ricardo Trujillo. He watched, with furrowed brows and a clenched jaw. Liesl wasn't his. Hell, she was the resident whore who bounced around or got passed around as she saw fit. But he was like a child with a toy he stopped playing with. Once he saw someone else playing with it, he wanted it back. That's how it went with Ricardo. Anything he had, Adrien wanted it and would do anything to take it from him. But it was worse seeing someone he claimed first slither her way into his enemies arms.

Then, like pouring salt in a wound, when Trujillo was done with one twin he went to the next. The man had no shame flitting from one woman to another. Adrien was not a protective type. He wouldn't give a rat ass who Lorelei spread her legs for. It was the fact that she wouldn't give him a second glance, yet Ricardo could stand right beside her and make a move on her? Lorelei wasn't his woman, but she was his property. Donovan Voigt gave her to him. Trujillo had the gall to make a move on something that wasn't his.

"Well isn’t that interesting."

Adrien's knuckles went white as his grip on his glass tightened. He might have crushed it in his grasp if Liesl hadn't walked past them. Before she was out of reach, he reached out with his free hand and grabbed a hold of her arm. "What the fuck do you think you were doing with him?" He hissed while nodding his head toward Ricardo.

Liesl turned to face him, yanking her arm free from his hold. "Whatever the hell I want!" While he towered over her, Liesl didn't back down. She wasn't scared of Adrien like the rest of Essex was. She sought him out for his power and prowess. He could threaten her all he wanted, hell she kinda liked it, but she was not some sheep who'd bend to his will.

"I don't take Trujillo's seconds." The last thing he wanted was to share the same woman that Ricardo had.

"No? But you'll take everyone else's seconds?" Liesl challenged him. She had humility when it came to her own reputation. She wasn't insulted when someone called her a slut. She was one and she knew it. So, rather than letting Adrien take it and try to throw it in her face, she took her own reputation and threw it in his. "He doesn't want me. He wants my untouched sister. So go fight over her if you're going to be a bitch about it."

Liesl reached up and took Adrien's whiskey. She didn't need his permission and she didn't care if she pissed him off. Part of her knew that men like Adrien loved when women didn't melt into puddles for them. It was the whole thrill of the chase and Liesl was no damsel in need of saving. She downed what remained of his drink then shoved the glass back in his hand. "Hugo and I are going to go dance," she said while taking Hugo's hand in hers. "While you get over yourself."

She started retreating back towards the dance floor with Hugo in tow, her gaze locked with Adrien. Liesl blew him a kiss before pivoting in a bit of a flourish. She took his hand and guided it towards her waist as they moved out onto the floor. "Can I just say," Liesl began as she pulled Hugo close, pressing their bodies together as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "Sex shouldn't be complicated by feuds."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Grayson Hughes Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt Character Portrait: Ricardo Trujillo Character Portrait: Lorelei Voigt
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John Waldmann
The Huntsmanx|xOutfitx|x#27352C

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Grabbing the attention of one of the attendants at the gala, John was able to order a bourbon old fashioned. As he waited for the server to return John saw Liesl return a playfully blown kiss, John decided to join her afterwards. He then looked among the group to see how his joke was received. There were a few laughs but overall it seems like it wasn't well received.

In an attempt to smooth things over with them John was about to respond but before he could the others did. The first was Paisley, when she mentioned she hadn't written anything for some time John was a little surprised but understood sometimes you just needed a break from work. When she said that his suggestions were tempting he appreciated it, if he could assist his late wife's favorite author he was sure she would be happy.

This happiness was soon interrupted by Paisley's elbow into John's side. When he looked to see why she elbowed him he saw the reaction of his comments from Liana, who was flustered and seemed to be blushing. She laughed before suggesting that Paisley may write an adventure title before excusing herself. John made a mental note to himself to apologize later.

Grayson's earlier reaction elicited a chuckle out of John. He hadn't seen Gray that surprised in a while, it would've been a couple years ago when John was still on the force. John raised his eyebrow when Gray soon left after Liana but in the complete opposite direction. He could tell there was something between the two but didn't know what specifically. Maybe this would get the two to address it but knowing Gray, probably not.

After the two had left, Paisley turned towards John and said, "Now that you're certainly about to disperse the happy crowd, how is your night?" Her playful tone helpfully making him feel less bad for causing the group to separate. Paisley could always find the right way to ease John's mind, she was a good friend.

Slightly embarrassed John received the cocktail he had ordered earlier. Taking a small sip from the glass, John gave Paisley a slight shrug before saying, "Aside from putting my foot in my mouth and causing most people in my vicinity to leave me? Pretty well." Taking another drink from his glass, John continued, "Wasn't the first time someone left me earlier tonight. Maybe it's my cologne?"

Another dad joke, this one even less successful than earlier, before Paisley said, "Don't let me hold you up, hmm? I'm sure you have better company to keep." John was going to question her about what she meant but before he could he noticed the rest of the group's reactions.

Lorelei on the other hand seemed to be trying her best to not convey any response. She smiled but John could tell that it wasn't genuine. When she replied that neither of the two, her and her sister Liesl, knew anything about love it made John feel a little sorry for them. She then excused herself and left the group, just like Liana and Grayson earlier.

Ricardo shortly excused himself too, leaving John and Paisley by themselves. He followed after Lorelei, an act that surprised John. He didn't know much about the recluse but he didn't picture him as the flirtatious type.

John noticed Paisley watching after Lorelei, knowing her she was probably worried about something happening. Lorelei didn't have the greatest boss, from what John could tell from the small interactions he has witnessed, and she looked like she needed someone to look after her. After Ricardo asked her to dance however John thought that she was in good enough hands for the meanwhile.

He linked his arm with Paisley and began to walk to the dance floor. Finishing the contents of his tumbler glass, John placed it on the closest table before leaning his head and whispering to Paisley, "It would be much easier to watch over them while dancing. Don't you think?" Before she could raise any objection John positioned them a few feet away from Ricardo and Lorelei, close enough to overhear but far enough to hopefully not raise their suspicions.

Dancing wasn't one of John's favorite hobbies. It was something that his wife enjoyed though and she would drag him along to any event she could to get him to dance with her. John didn't have any interest in it but he soldiered through it to make her happy. One of his gifts to her was to take slow dancing lesson's together, a gift Jane appreciated a lot and one John tried to hide from those close to him. Grayson and Uncle Ben was probably the only ones who knew of this secret.

Skillfully he lead Paisley through the dance, trying to make up for the fact he didn't ask her for permission. He may as well try to make the experience one to remember. While dancing John made sure he gave Paisley an angle to watch Lorelei. Glancing over at them every now and then John commented, "She doesn't seem to be experienced. Also seems a little perplexed of the situation if you ask me." A smirk emerged on John's face before he asked, "How about you? Are you experienced or is this more of an event suited towards your characters?"

John twirled Paisley a little closer towards the pair before twirling her back, resting one of his hands on the small of her back. The two continued to dance while John stole a few glances around the gala. The majority of them weren't dancing but maybe their presence would inspire a few more to participate. He noticed Adrien staring daggers towards the other pair, Lorelei in particular. John pointed this out to Paisley.

Someone else that caught John's eyes were Liesl. She was talking to Hugo, John didn't interact with him much aside from when he needed to go to the bank. She seemed to be in a better mood than earlier, which was a relief to John. The two weren't the closest of friends but they met often enough and she had a particular charm. She was also glancing between Adrien and Lorelei, possibly also curious about what was going to happen.

Returning his focus to Paisley, John leaned closer to her and whispered to her, "Seems like something interesting may happen soon." His head lingered closer to Paisley after that before leaning back and giving her a playful smile.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Lux Character Portrait: Roman Scarrott Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Grayson Hughes Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt
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#, as written by mombie
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_______________________

~ Toast to Hope ~
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There was much to do still and not a lot of time left to do them. This night could not last forever, as pained as Mrs. Picket felt for all involved. As she walked through the gala she noted the relationships that have formed, and part of her knew that happiness would be broken as the curse slowly lifted. But this was for the best, she told herself over and over again. They did not belong in this earthly realm, for every precious moment spent living their best lives in Essex, the Enchanted Realm withered away thanks to the vile curse of the Evil Queen. It wouldn't be long until it was gone for good. The people needed their beacons of hope, but they are all here in Essex.

Several fancy individuals went around the auction tables, presumably to look at the bids placed. They took about 30 minutes, or so, to close the auction and place the winning number on each item. It was a silent auction, after all.

After a while, the music died down and Mrs. Picket took the stage front and center. Waiters and waitresses carried trays of champaign, offering one thin fluke to each person. She was given a mic, tapped it a couple of times, did the comical and fun one, two, three . . . test, test. She laughed a little to lighten the mood because there was nothing joyous about the occasion. Those that have lived miserable lives in the Enchanted Realm had grown content here, but Mrs. Picket's magic would soon shred their reality.

"What a wonderful night. It's been lovely to see all these faces together in one spot," she smiled as best she could. Of course, it was easy for her - she had such a bright outward appearance and personality that it was hard to see her as anything but jovial. She's just a happy old lady! "The silent auction has ended. You will find the winning bids place on the items," she gestured toward the various auction tables. There were, indeed, large white cards placed near each item with the number of its owner. It didn't matter if someone outbid them or if someone bid on their behalf; the digits would match whomever the item belonged to.

"I know, I know," she paced to and fro, adding a little comedy to her routine, "Such an eclectic inventory, right? And that's putting it nicely." She paused for the obligatory laughs. No one would leave an old lady hanging, even if her humor was dry, right?

She raised her glass in the air toward those gathered. They were waiting for her to get to the point, and she gets that. It's a long night and there are far too many personalities here for everything to remain pleasant. "The proceeds from the auction will go toward those suffering without hope." She paused, took a look around the room, and smiled lightly. Come tomorrow, this throng of good Essex people will be shattered. "Dance, be merry, and enjoy each other. Tomorrow will mark a new beginning in Essex. But I hope you will always remember that there is always hope. Hope in the world, in each other, and even in that which is hopeless - be it a person or situation. Believe in change. Believe in... goodness."

She wanted to sigh because certain individuals here were not going to change for anything. But she proceeded to be content in her vague ramblings. Maybe many would just dismiss her as an old senile lady, for she is quite geriatric. "So let's toast to that - hope, for it can be found in even the darkest places. Even in... all of this," she gestured around to the auction tables once more with a free hand.

After finishing off her drink, she addressed them for the last time. "Well, it's been lovely, dearies. My job here is done, and I must go." She left the stage, allowed others to say their good-byes to her and she to them. The Enchanted Realm had so few heroes within it to help stave off the Evil Queen's magic, and the Fairy Godmother was one of them. Even just spending a few hours here could have caused harm.

With that, Mrs. Picket left the building and went back from whence she came. She took one last look at Essex and the dimly lit streets before she "poofed" away as though she was never here. However, unlike she had intended in the beginning, she'd leave the residents a memory of her as to take a few words to heart later.

* * *

Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Realm whole cities, kingdoms, and minor-realms were at war with one another. Many of them were headed by the co-conspirators of Jafar or the Evil Queen, both with the same goal in mind. The Realm was decaying at a rapid rate, and no one knew who to blame for the mess. The skies everywhere were a dour shade of grey, and the flora and fauna were diseased and deathly. Everyone was frightened because they were without proper leadership. The loss of certain characters meant the end of hope.

The Fairy Godmother returned to a small clearing in the Enchanted Forest that was kept alive by the magic of herself and a few others. She stepped into a small hut and nodded slowly, "They will come. Of that, I have no doubt."

The Blue Fairy, the six Fairies that blessed Aurora, and even the one that was said to have cursed Beast, were all having dinner at a large round table. It wasn't anything special; just stew. "We'll see," one of the six Fairies scoffed. "We should still look for a way to break this curse. Just in case. Who'd want to return to this?"

The Blue Fairy laughed solemnly, "Ah, yes - that will be quite the dilemma. Won't it?"

The Fairy Godmother peered out of a window. The skies were clear here, but she could see the tendrils of dark light stretching slowly toward them. "Hope, ladies. Hope. It's the only thing we have left."

They would all agree to disagree. Some of them felt that these were the end of days, and others were more optimistic. However, they were all realistic. Realistically, life was hell in the Enchanted Realm - even for those that supposedly had their "Happy Endings" - whatever that meant. Life here was no storybook.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt Character Portrait: Ricardo Trujillo Character Portrait: Lorelei Voigt Character Portrait: Olive Fitzgerald
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R I C A R D O x T R U J I L L O
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#4d2915 || Outfit || City Hall

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Ricardo was not surprised that Lorelei took his hand. While he may not be an openly arrogant man, he was. Would any woman actually decline his offer? An no, Liesl doesn't count - she's dancing with Hugo.

As the pair moved to the dance floor, he either didn't notice or didn't care to be obvious about knowing, that she was reluctant. Guiding a woman in dance came as naturally to him as breathing, and despite his towering physique, his touch was gentle; guiding, not tugging. He didn't need to wrestle a woman to get them to do what he wanted. Unlike some people - Adrien.

He had pulled her closer to him; her intimate space instantly taken over as he placed a hand at the small of her back and changed the grip of their hands. The possessive nature of his hold could hardly be recognized by the onlookers outside, for his aloof and unsmiling nature betrayed very little. But he had her, and it didn't matter that he couldn't master the perfect facial expressions or poetic whatnots at this very moment.

The first song was quiet, and he chose to correct any of Lorelei's errs naturally without causing embarrassment or shame. If she tripped on her own two left feet because of nerves, he pretended not to notice at all. There was no need to bring up insignificant flaws like that. In fact, they were kind of cute. She even stepped on his toe once, but he decided to take better care of minding his own body for physical longevity. Heels are dangerous weapons.

Just when the man was getting comfortable, the obvious question rolled from Lorelei's lips, "Why aren't you dancing with Liesl?" Ah, so she had seen the little encounter between himself and the feisty redhead.

He didn't step away, but he did lean back just a smidge so that he could bow and tilt his head enough to look her in the eyes. There it was; a smile, but it wasn't amorous. It was more like... quiet laughter and amusement at her inquiry. He even showed a bit of teeth. "Liesl?" He laughed once, "I suppose I could dance with her. In fact, any man here could dance with her and she'd not object. Why would you worry about that?"

Then it occurred to him that she could have seen a whole five seconds of that interaction, which led him to his next choice of words, "Why don't you go ask her why if you need to know so badly?" The words, themselves, seemed quite harsh to the contrasting gentleness of the tone that carried them. His voice was deep; it rumbled in his throat, but he was a smooth-talker.

A single shoulder shrugged slowly as he looked away to resume the dance, "Or you can just ignore her and focus on me. Hmm?" Sure, it had a weird sexist tone to it - maybe - but to say he was unlike Adrien would be a lie. He was just more subtle about it.

Shortly after their last dance, he heard the clinging of a fork against a glass. It demanded attention. Mrs. Picket was speaking, which meant that it was time for things to start drawing to a close. It didn't feel like it's been long at all, but by the sound of things, Mrs. Picket had places to be. She was an important woman after all. Of what - he could not remember.

The dancing stopped and the servers handed out the champagne flutes. Ricardo reached for one, handed it to Lorelei, and then took another for himself. During this entire speech, he hadn't noticed that he simply moved her to the side but retained her fingers within his own lightly grasping palm. It was absentminded, as if it were natural for him to do so. Like they were a thing, even.

Not being a man that had that champagne taste, he merely took a tentative sip before handing it off to a passing waiter. At this time he did note that he had been holding on to her hand, but he also didn't care. He simply withdrew it casually without bringing attention to the gesture. He wasn't sorry for much in this lifetime.

When Lorelei was done with her own champagne he spoke, "I need to check on a few auction items I bid on. I'll walk you home after. Okay?" He leaned down and looked at her when he put that last question in there. It wasn't much of something for her to respond to, but he did want to make sure Lorelei understood that she's to wait on him.

He straightened and turned away from her only when he got the expression or words he wanted, then went to see what items he won and which ones were a bust. The Quill pen was a bust. He scoffed at that. Adrien probably did it to spite him, or maybe it was Paisley. It was either Adrien or one of those pesky bookworm women! He just knew it. He cursed under his breath, stepped away from it, and went to the unusual rose and glass dome antique.

Of course, he would win the odd knickknack. Maybe Lorelei would be interested in this rather than some Quill Feather pen.




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#19444c || Outfit || Location

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“Word on the street is, you don’t particularly care for this so-called love anyways.” Liv retorted, and that brought a devious upward curl to the corner of his lips. “I wouldn’t mind if you walked by again though.” Ah, the little minx. Redheads were such teases. He still had his arm around his good friend, but his eyes were hyperfocused on the vixen with lecherous intent.

"Careful now," he teased back; voice low and at a rather intentional predatory growl. Near, anyway, "I've got a really bad reputation for pinning women against bathroom walls. I'm sure my good friend here could use the entertainment." He gave Peter's shoulder a hard squeeze, then chuckled at himself. Ah, he's the worst and he knew it. There was no man more disgustingly immoral than him with his unabashed references, some of which were not subtle, about using women as he pleased. Not many of them responded kindly to it, either.

To the comment from Peter that he looked delectable, John responded by placing an open palm against his chest, fluttering his lashes, and giving him an overdramatic interpretation of a woman accepting a compliment, "Why, you flatter me, Mr. Lleweln." The voice he led with was dripping with a jestful feminine tone, and his attention was pinned on making Peter squirm a little, too. Sure, John was heterosexual, but to say that Peter didn't make a straight man second-guess himself would be a lie. He pulled his arm away, turned to face him, straightened out Peter's collar, and gave his blonde hair a good ruffle. He leaned in, "If you're hittin' that and not sharing, I'm gonna be upset, man. She could take the both of us, right?" His 'whisper' was not that discreet, and Liv would probably hear it. She was meant to.

Both Peter and Liv would be wise to take him seriously, but they wouldn't be wrong to take his words as good (though wildly inappropriate) fun. He really wouldn't say no to tag-teaming a lady. Peter wouldn't, either. With his body still facing his pal, he turned his head and offered Liv a sly grin. He's such a dog.

He settled himself onto a stool with the conversation veering one way or another, and let his eyes roam for a moment. His peripherals locked onto Minerva. That pesky brunette liked it when he invaded her space; he could tell. At least, that's what he tells himself! Some women just didn't want to cave, but that made the chase much more primal. All that confidence and self-agency is sexy as hell, but even better when it all caves to submission. He'd play her game... for a while until he really got tired of it. Then he'd be in a lot of trouble. Or she would. Both could be true at once.

He watched her for a time, and when their eyes met during her dance with Ciaran, he smirked at her. One part of him knew that there was little competition, but another part was a bit on the jealous side. The other guy wasn't a saint by any measure, but he was a better guy than John. That pissed him off a little.

Time passed by and his gaze dragged and surveyed the space, snapping to another dangerously attractive redhead; Rhiannon. He caught the wink to Liv and then couldn't help the next words, "A four-way is better than a three-way." Deep down inside, even though he's an absolute sleazebag all of the time, he really had eyes for one exceptionally stubborn woman. In what kind of way? He wasn't sure. For now, he just based it on primal urges. He could play around for now, though.

Mrs. Picket said her piece and moved on, but John didn't bother with the champagne. That shit's for giddy college girls that wanted to get "white-girl wasted" to the latest number one hit pop song. He looked between the two of them; Liv and Peter, "Yes, no? I mean, we're two good lookin' guys." He gave Peter another one of those arm around the shoulder tugs toward him. It was more a question for Liv. "You can say no, but this offer only comes once." Was he joking? Was he serious? It's so fucking hard to tell. Peter knew that he wasn't, but not a lot of others could. After all, who says things like this in real life?




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P a i s l e y x L a w r e n c e

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#D35950 || Outfit || Location

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Paisley didn't mind that John swept her to the dancefloor. It was... unexpected, and maybe a spot of hot red tinged her cheeks, but they were just friends. Just friends. Without drawing his attention to it, she drew in a quick soft breath and let it out again. She could do this in a totally platonic way.

"It would be much easier to watch over them while dancing. Don't you think?" Her thoughts had ventured elsewhere for those few seconds, and his words seemed to reach her ears a few seconds too late. Paisley looked up to see what he was referring to, and quickly averted her gaze from Ricardo and Lorelei. She was friends with Lorelei, but she wasn't going to pretend to know much about the woman's situation with the enigmatic Ricardo. Hell, no one knew Ricardo enough to even begin to guess what his intentions are. For all Paisley knew, he was just a kinder guy than she thought (she had taken some of his rumored reputation to heart), and thought the gesture obligatory. He wasn't even smiling. Did he even enjoy the dance?

"She doesn't seem to be experienced. Also seems a little perplexed of the situation if you ask me. How about you? Are you experienced or is this more of an event suited towards your characters?" He asked shortly before giving Paisley a twirl, to which she managed without stumbling around. She could dance, but she wasn't the best. Good enough, basically.

"Hmm, I don't know much about Lorelei's romantic life. You know we women love to gossip, but she's a little more private." She laughed lightly at that, "As for me, I can dance. Kind of. For the most part. But no - I don't typically enjoy indoor events." That was what he was asking about, right? Then the thought occurred to her that he might be asking about something else. He said event. Did that mean the gala? Or was it whatever was happening between the people he had mentioned previously? Love? Romance? Their many forms?

At one point the pair had turned enough that Paisley's attention was ensnared by Adrien. Of all things in this world, he was the most intimidating yet also interesting at the same time. Wait. No. He wasn't interesting. He was a brainless oaf. There were much better men in this town than that one! In fact, Peter or John Carpenter together, at once, would be better than Adrien.

"Seems like something interesting may happen soon," John W. said, effectively yanking the woman out of her thoughts and back into reality. Her gaze flit from Ricardo to Adrien, then to Lorelei and Liesl. She couldn't help but laugh a little bit at the situation. Ricardo didn't seem like the type of man to start something over a woman, and this wasn't that kind of trashy event. Adrien wouldn't do it. Would he?

She looked over at Adrien for a second. Why did she have this feeling that he would?

It wasn't any of her business, she thought to herself, stepping closer to John and resting her head near the crook of his neck (though more likely around his chest somewhere due to drastic height difference). She couldn't quite place the feeling that was growing in the pit of her stomach, but it was off. There was a lot of tension, and she couldn't even begin to fathom why it disturbed her.

"Ah, I almost forgot, but I promised to take the kids to the lake for a picnic. Think it will be okay if I drop by and pick them up at noon?" Subject change. Nothing made her uneasy than the suffocating air of two alpha males flirting on the edge of a fight for dominance.

Before Waldmann could answer, Mrs. Picket had the champagne glasses distributed and said her piece. It left Paisley with confused furrowed brows, "A new beginning? So strange," she muttered, finishing her glass in one sip and handing it to a passing waiter after. She looked up at John, "Was there news that I missed?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: John Waldmann Character Portrait: Paisley Lawrence Character Portrait: Liesl Voigt Character Portrait: Adrien Duval Character Portrait: Ricardo Trujillo Character Portrait: Lorelei Voigt
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John Waldmann
The Huntsmanx|xOutfitx|x#27352C

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Still closely embraced from their dance, Paisley rested her head near the crook of John's neck. John leaned into her as well, a slight smile widening on his face as he looked down towards the crown of her head.

The two had grown close since the time they met each other but their interactions had remained platonic due to John's already existing relationship with Nora and the complications surrounding his still lingering feelings towards his late wife. He didn't want to further complicate his love life but tonight showed that there was some romantic tension between the two, if just a little.

His thoughts were soon interrupted when Paisley said, "Ah, I almost forgot, but I promised to take the kids to the lake for a picnic. Think it will be okay if I drop by and pick them up at noon?" John didn't give it much thought before nodding in agreement. He trusted Paisley with his children and the two seemed to like her. Nothing bad should occur with her watching over them.

"That should work and I'm sure the kids are looking forward to it. Anything to breakup what they perceive to be a boring small town life. I'll swing by if I'm able." John chuckled under his breath, knowing he probably wouldn't be able, before their conversation was interrupted by a waiter holding a tray of filled champagne glasses. He took one for himself and handed another one towards Paisley before the room's attention was grabbed by the host of the evening, Mrs. Pickett.

Her speech focused on the silent auction and how the items would be marked for the item's respective owners as well as a short message about where the funds would be allocated. Mrs. Pickett than gave a short message about hope and some 'new beginning' that would occur. John didn't quite understand the meaning behind her message but he believed there was something more to what she said.

"A new beginning? So strange . . . Was there news that I missed?" John shrugged slightly in response, not having a definitive answer for Paisley. Whatever this 'new beginning' was exactly, John hoped that it would be a beginning that would be positive for him and his children.

He answered as much to Paisley when he said, "Probably but if it's something you've missed I'm pretty sure you're not the only one." John motioned towards all the other confused people in the gala hall. He then continued saying, "Whatever this 'new beginning' is, hopefully it's a peaceful one. Don't want to imagine the countless bad possibilities there could be . . . Maybe you could write a novel based on a horrible possibility like a zombie apocalypse for instance. Apocalyptic and dystopic scenarios seem to be popular lately."

Pulling out the card he was given earlier in the evening John motioned his head towards the items before saying to Paisley, "I'll go see if I won anything tonight. Would be a pretty bad dad if I wasn't able to bring anything back for the kids." He then began to walk towards the auction items before waving goodbye to Paisley and continuing, "Don't be a stranger. I'll see you tomorrow if not later today. Goodnight."

With his card in hand John walked by the first item he placed a bid on tonight, a silver ring with a stag's head, and saw that he had successfully purchased it. John was delighted and planned to wrap a thin cord around it and make a necklace with the ring and give it to his daughter. John then walked towards the old hunting knife and saw that he was also successful at acquiring it. When he grabbed the knife's scabbard he felt a small shock creep up his arm. It wasn't painful but it was noticeable, John shrugged it off however not thinking much of it.

While walking towards an exit of the gala hall John was looking down at his phone, looking for any messages that he may have received. Strangely there wasn't anything, no message from Nora and he didn't see her attending tonight either. Perhaps she was occupied with something else and was unable to contact him. What she would've been busy with he had no idea but he decided to just send her a short message, hoping that she was alright.

Shortly afterwards John found himself outside and an unwilling spectator of a scene occurring between Mr. Duval and Mr. Trujillo. John had noticed some tension between the two earlier in the evening, especially when Ricardo was dancing with Lorelei but he didn't think it would escalate into anything serious. John was uncharacteristically wrong about that.

During the commotion John had wanted to step in several times to try and diffuse the situation but from what he could observe from the sidelines he knew that it wouldn't have ended well for him or them if he had. However when Adrien had taken out a firearm, John placed his hand on his gun holster incase Adrien was stupid enough to actually attempt anything. Luckily for him and everyone surrounding him Grayson was able to deescalate the situation and apprehended Mr. Duval, a decision Grayson may soon regret.

Not wanting to end the night on a sour note John walked towards the nearest group to him, Liesl and Hugo, to see how they were faring after the incident. Without knowledge of their previous conversation John walked in-between the two and said, "Not how I would choose to end a night of festivities but the wealthy and powerful sure know how to spice up a party."

John then turned towards Liesl and said, "Apologies for not being able to talk to you earlier. I was already preoccupied but it seems you were able to find someone else to 'entertain' you." He then smiled at Hugo but he felt that he wasn't going to receive a warm welcome from him. He then continued saying, "You didn't look yourself a little earlier tonight. Anything you wanted to talk about or were you looking forward to leaving here as soon as humanly possible?"