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Adonis Galante

"If you want a fight, you found your guy."

0 · 116 views · located in New York

a character in “the last of the real ones”, as played by leisurelyatwar

Description

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So begins...

Adonis Galante's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Declan Sun Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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soren bowers.
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outfit. #4d5676.
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xxx I've been staying up all night
xxx Shaking needles out my spine
xxx But the doctor says I'm fine
xxx Feels good to be alive, but I hate my life

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The concept of the party had started as yet another one of their deep, meaningful conversations on the balcony. They got talking about all the people they’d been friends with once upon a time and where they’d all ended up. Some, Soren had managed to stay in contact with over the years. Others, not so much. He and Erin had begun talking about the parties they’d found themselves at and the ones they’d thrown in high school. Quite often, it had ended in everyone screaming at each other, with the same few members of the group sometimes even throwing punches, before they’d all stormed off home. They wouldn’t talk for maybe a day, and then it would be like nothing ever happened. Rinse and repeat, over and over again. But oh, when things were good, they were really good.

Erin and Soren had looked at each other, and it seemed they’d had the same idea at the same time. A party, just like the good old days, but with everyone in a slightly better place, and without the ringmistress that could spark a fight in seconds with just a smirk and a well-timed comment. Almost immediately, they began digging through their contacts to find people.

More or less everyone that had been invited had agreed to attend. Camilla’s reply had been rather blunt; an ambiguous “k” in response to his Instagram message, and then leaving the follow up messages entirely on read. Ever since the whole debacle where an unreleased Beautiful Strangers demo had somehow ended up being sampled on a Sophie’s valentine track, the relationship between the two bands had been… frosty. Beautiful Strangers had made the PR decision to attempt to end rumours of a feud, with band members tweeting about Sophie’s Valentine whenever they released new music, and Soren covering one of their songs on an Instagram live. The efforts weren’t reciprocated, but Beautiful Strangers’ management and the band themselves were at least content that Beautiful Strangers didn’t look like the asshole in this situation, which is all they really needed from it. So, to be honest, Soren would have been more surprised had she replied positively to his message but he still had no idea whether or not she was going to show up. He and Erin had a bet running; him betting that Cam would, Erin betting that she wouldn’t.

The thought of seeing everyone again was a little bit strange. They hadn’t been in a room together in years, and they had no idea how they were all going to interact. Perhaps they were being a little naive in hoping they’d all be able to have a good time and forget everything that had gone down between them; but it was worth trying. They were hoping that the copious amounts of alcohol would help and not make things any worse, but they knew that they were also possibly taking a risk and that things might go to hell. They told themselves that the important thing was, that they’d acknowledged that things might go to shit and that there was nothing they could do about it.

Despite that acceptance, the pre-party nerves were worse than ever. He’d taken as many painkillers as he could without risking getting drowsy or overly spacey to make sure he wouldn’t be sore and grouchy at the party. He told himself that was fine, that it was a one time thing for a special event, that it didn’t count, and tried to put everything out of his mind. But the reality of what exactly was involved was starting to kick in, and he was beginning to question if this was a good idea at all. He never would have admitted this to Erin (because saying it out loud might just result in her materialising in front of them like Voldemort), but at the back of his mind, he was afraid that Lauren would show up. He had no reason to believe she would; but she always had a way of knowing about things she shouldn’t. She always found out about these things, and she would seize any opportunity to start drama. In some strange ways, it was reassuring to know that she really hadn’t changed in the slightest. When she’d shown up backstage in Vancouver, of all places, it was like stepping back six years into a conversation in high school. She was sickly sweet, charming, flattering, pretending to have changed. And then when it had become apparent that she wasn’t going to get what she wanted by being nice… the claws had come out. She’d been somewhat shocked when he’d still told her that he didn’t care, he didn’t want her in his life; and that had been one of the most satisfying moments of his life. But he still didn’t want her showing up and starting shit; and he knew that if she heard it was him and Erin throwing it, she’d be even more determined to wreak havoc.

He spent most of that day in his room, working on music in an attempt to try and distract himself. It was all rough, demos of demos, just playing around on his old keyboard and the guitar to try and get melodies in his head, but it was enough to serve as a distraction. When he realised that he needed to start to get ready, he instinctively saved everything he’d recorded and backed it all up to an external hard drive. As an afterthought, he hid the hard drive in a drawer, made sure his laptop was shut down entirely, and then locked his bedroom door as he headed out to the kitchen. Paranoia? Perhaps, but he wasn’t risking having anyone getting their hands on something they shouldn’t. He didn’t trust anyone not to go snooping around their rooms; and, well, if Cam showed up, he definitely didn’t want to risk leaving any Beautiful Strangers material lying around. Just in case. He didn’t think that any of Sophie’s Valentine had been directly involved the first time, but he wasn’t going to risk it happening again.

Once out in the kitchen, he and Erin had a few drinks and scrolled through instagram together, liking everyone’s pre-party posts and gossiping about everyone. The things they’d heard people had been up to since they last saw them, how they thought people must have changed… it was exactly what they both needed to try and chill some of the pre-party apprehension. They were both nervous. How could they not be? But neither of them wanted to acknowledge that, and so, they settled for just distracting themselves for a while.

He was almost surprised at how happy everyone seemed to be to see each other. The bad blood seemed to have vanished, or at least be put to the side while everyone was still sober. Camilla even showed up (Soren had shot Erin a triumphant grin at that point) and was somewhat civil to the both of them. The party was beginning to really kick off now, with a few people dancing and chatting in the living room, a few chatting out on the balcony, and others grabbing drinks and snacks in the kitchen. Soren excused himself from the group he had been talking to and headed towards the kitchen to get another drin




evie addams.
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outfit. #b59eab.
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xxx I don't feel sorry for you
xxx Cause now the tables turning
xxx And now the bridge is burning
xxx It's coming crashing down

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The thought of seeing everyone again after this long was strange. Evie had only spoken to most of them through DMs and texts over the past few months, and she knew there were a few people likely to be there that she hadn’t spoken to at all since she’d graduated. But everyone she longed to see and longed to have fun with were going to be there, and that was what mattered to her at the end of the day. She was determined to focus on the good things of this party and not worry about the bad. This would be different, she told herself. She was different now, everyone else had changed, and things would be better. She kept repeating that reassurance to herself as she got ready for the party. It would be fine. She was going to have fun

Once upon a time, getting dressed for these types of events had been an absolute nightmare for her. Everything she’d worn had always felt wrong, especially when she was standing beside people like Lauren, Camilla, and Jade, who always seemed to be so effortlessly stylish and who could pull off anything… and who wouldn’t hesitate to make derogatory comments on what people were wearing and whether or not they thought they looked good. Lauren had usually helped with planning her outfit, and Evie had been so grateful for that. It guaranteed the group’s approval and her exemption from those harsh, mean comments that they would make about everyone else. But now, she could see that for what it had been; another opportunity to manipulate and control her, usually to make sure that she didn’t look as good as Lauren. Those comments had probably still been made behind her back instead of to her face. Now, she didn’t need to impress anyone. She could dress for herself and wore what made her happy; not what she thought would get the approval she needed.

Now, Evie’s only dilemma as to what to wear was because she had no idea how dressy this party was supposed to be, if she should show up dolled up to the nines, or if she should show up in something a bit more casual. Erin hadn’t really helped when Evie had asked her, saying she should just wear whatever she liked, they didn’t mind too much. Soren’s answer of “i mean i guess similar to the parties we had in high school?” had been slightly more helpful, but she was still stuck between two choices. She’d texted Gabriella for help, and the decision they’d come to was something along the lines of “fuck it, being overdressed is better than being underdressed.”

The dress was something she never would have dared wear around Lauren. Lauren would have made some comment about how she really just didn’t have the figure for it, that black made her look pale, that she was too short to pull off a leg split, and then just claimed she was trying to help and be supportive. But Evie had fallen in love with it the minute she saw it, and had been dying for an opportunity to wear it. Was it possibly still a little dressy for this type of party? Probably. Did she care? Absolutely not.

She had been shocked when her taxi had dropped outside Erin’s apartment. She knew that The Golden Owl was doing well, but she hadn’t expected the apartment to be quite so grand. Clearly, Erin was doing well for herself. Evie was glad for that. Erin had been somewhat troubled in high school (hadn’t they all?), but she’d still tried to be a good friend to Evie, even as Evie had stuck close to Erin’s sworn enemy. She was excited to see everyone again; but for some reason, she was especially excited to see Erin.

She’d greeted both Erin and Soren with hugs. They’d both changed so much, and yet somehow not all. Truth be told, she’d only ever really known Soren through Lauren, which meant she hadn’t really known him at all, and after the breakup, it wasn’t like she could have been friends with him. At first, Lauren had played the heartbroken girlfriend who just hadn’t been able to cope with the thoughts of her boyfriend being in pain, so it was easier to just not to have to look at that. And then, as time gone on, her story changed, and Lauren confided the truth to Evie. How she’d only ever really liked him because he was fun and for the whole tormented artist thing he had going for him, and how she’d cheated on him multiple times during the relationship, including while Soren was recovering from surgery. At the time, Evie had sided with Lauren entirely, believing that Lauren’s reasons were justified. Now she knew the truth and had gotten to know Soren a little better over the past couple of months, it just further drove home the point of how terrible a person Lauren truly was.

She found herself wandering around the party, constantly finding and losing people as she tried to say hi to everyone. But now, her gaze was set firmly on the dance floor, as she searched the room for someone to grab and drag to come dance with her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Declan Sun Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo Character Portrait: Jeremy Williams
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Olivia Eriksen
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Art Conservator/Starving Artist | outfit. | Song |#8B8000.
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xxx I wanna paint your face
xxx Like you're my Mona Lisa
xxx I wanna be a champion
xxx I wanna be a loser

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Livvy was shooting a wedding in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts when she received a text from one of her favorite people. Erin. Apparently, her gorgeous bar-owner friend and her rock star bestie decided it was time to get the gang back together. And, since Livvy had a job waiting for her at the Institute in New York anyway, she was more than happy to attend. And, of course, so did Simon.

She hadn't seen much of her best friend these days outside of the various video chats they tended to use. It'll be nice to get back to their roots, so to speak. In fact, she hadn't seen many of her friends since she left New York in her bus outside of video chat and social media. She's stopped in every now and then. Grab a cup of coffee and peruse the photography and art books in the reference section of the Cozy Book Nook, knockback shots at The Golden Owl, bump fuzzies with ye old fuck buddies in various homes. But it had been at least a year and she couldn't stop thinking about what faces she might see again.

It was Erin's party so of course, she would be seeing her. And obviously Simon. A few messages revealed Gabriella was going to be there too, much to Livvy's delight. She wasn't sure who else was going to be there, but she knew who wasn't going to be there. Lauren. Livvy hoped her henchmen wouldn't be there either. Though, from what she heard, they had renounced the fire-breathing bitch queen and found their own lives without her.

Good for them.

Then again. Maybe Lauren should come. It would give her a chance to finally shoot her shot and check her off her fuck list she had made in high school on a dare.

Speaking of fuck lists... her fingers began to tingle, her pulse keeping time against her ribcage. Would Dean be there? They hadn't spoken much since high school. Their breakup was... tough. Livvy was just as addicted to him as she was the high and staying away after they split was easier said than done. She saw that he was starting to clean himself up a bit, much like herself. Maybe... it would be time to start again?

She found a place to park her bus--the secure parking garage of the Institute--and tore through her closet. After a few failed attempts and a near panic attack, she had decided on a black strapless crop top and a flowing high-low black skirt with a pair of nude pumps. She knew she'd be kicking them off as soon as she got in the door but it was part of the look and wearing flats with this length of skirt in New York was just asking for trouble.

While she waited for the taxi to pull up, she stood outside the Institute and scrolled through social media. She paused a photo of Adonis slid into view. She rubbed at the strange weight in her chest at the sight of him. She had been meaning to text him. Ask him how Flur was. To just... talk like they once had, but, obviously, she hadn't. She double tapped his photo, wondering if he would be there tonight. Which made her wonder about someone else. Her mentor, Julian. She figured he'd be in attendance as last she heard he was working for Erin. She hadn't seen him since before he was locked up. They sent a few letters, but it hurt too much. It was like losing a brother. Or she guessed that's how it would feel. She was--thankfully--an only child. She couldn't imaging sharing her past with other children. Her's was rough enough.

There was a splash as the taxi rounded the corner. She waved it over and waited for it to come to a complete stop before climbing in and giving the driver the address to Erin's apartment.

--

No matter how many times she saw it, she was impressed by the size of Erin's apartment. It was much bigger than her bus, that was for sure. She watched the taxi drive away before she stared up at the door, a mix of anticipation and dread churning through her. Maybe she should go home. She hadn't thought this through. What if the goon squad was in attendance? What if she lost the control she had been working so hard to maintain? And maybe so what if she did? One night wouldn't hurt anyone. She squared her shoulders, lifted her chin, and strolled inside.

The first person she nearly tackled to the ground was, in fact, Julian. When she saw him, she couldn't help it. It had been so long since she saw the man that inspired a great deal of her art. Who taught her nearly everything she knew about color theory and lighting. Who was just as much a part of her little family she made as Simon. After him, she wandered through the crowd, spying a few faces that were familiar, but she couldn't guess their names.

She spotted Erin and Evie dancing together and rubbed at the weird feeling in her chest.

Maybe she should see a cardiologist.

At a momentary loss at what to do, she did what she usually did.

She pulled out her small pouch of pencils from her satchel she brought with her everywhere and her travel-size sketchbook. She poured herself a drink, stood at the island in the kitchen, and sketched.







Simon Rizzo
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Barista | outfit | Song |#489A4A.
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xxx I'm always screaming my lungs out
xxx till my head starts spinning
xxx Playing my songs is the way I cope with life
xxx Won't keep my voice down
xxx Know the words I speak are the thoughts I think out loud

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Simon checked his watch every few minutes as he pretended to flip through a magazine while he stood behind the counter of The Cozy Book Nook. When Livvy texted about Erin's party he was, hesitant to say the least. While there were certain people in their circle that he enjoyed spending time with like Erin and Julian, there were others he wasn't super fond of. Like Dean. And Adonis. and Jade. And, he shuddered to think about her, Lauren. Or the "fire-breathing bitch queen" as Livvy calls her.

But, hopefully, given the history, she wouldn't be there tonight.

He was waiting for Jennifer and Shaundra to get there to switch shifts so he could make it back to his apartment in time to change and meet Robyn at her place so they could go to Erin's together. Being Livvy's best friend meant knowing where Erin's apartment was. Plus... It was Robyn. He was honestly surprised she said yes. I mean... it's Robyn.

Anyway, he was reading the same article for the fifth time when he was literally saved by the bell on the door as the night crew came to take over. He nearly darted out the door with a salute and well wishes for a good night before he practically jogged to his home. He was definitely going to need a shower.

--

Pomade in his hair, a light cologne misting around him, and a clean shaved face. He was dressed in his bootcut jeans, a pair of polished black boots, a skeleton t-shirt, and his favorite jean jacket. On his way out the door, he made sure he had his wallet and his keys and grabbed his guitar.

The taxi was already waiting by the time the soles of his boots hit the concrete of the sidewalk. He dove inside and provided the address for Robyn's home which she had written on a piece of a napkin the last time she was in the Nook. Being a man of music, he had memorized it. He had done the same for Erin's apartment, Livvy's license plate (just in case something happened to her bus), and his Mom's, Livvy's, and Julian's cell numbers.

He stood outside the door as he waited for her to join him. And when she did, all words let his mind. All he could hear was music as she smiled shyly at him. "Wow, Robyn," He breathed, "You look amazing." He held the door open for her before climbing inside behind her.

Once they had arrived at Erin's, he exited with his guitar and gently placed it on the ground before offering a hand to her to assist in her own exit. He could've sworn he felt a zinging in his hands where she held onto his. Once she was safely on the sidewalk, he laughed self-consciously and rubbed at the back of his neck, letting go of her hand. "Sorry." He gestured for her to go up the stairs first saying, "After you."

He could feel the music in his chest as soon as the door opened and only intensified as he got closer to the sound system in the living room. Erin and Evie were dancing to some EDM song pumping through the speakers. Others were just joining conversations. He spotted Livvy sketching at the island but decided against going right up to her for now. They were close as siblings, but one conversation they had was giving each other space. They tended to crowd each other in... well... crowded situations and often times it overwhelmed them.

She gave him a smile and raised her glass to him and that was a greeting enough for him. They would talk later. He noticed her fingers were already smudged with graphite. You can take the artist out of her studio, but you can't take the art out of the artist.

Instead, he turned to Robyn, held his hand out to her, palm up, and asked, "May I have this dance, M'Lady?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Adonis Galante
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co written by caille aka sor

dylan’s outfit 1.
adonis’s outfit 1. 2. 3.


Adonis hadn’t received an invite to Erin’s party, at least not directly. It came up one day when he was hanging around her bar waiting for Julian to get off. He didn’t take it personally, he knew Erin didn’t want his mess in her home. Regardless he was going to show. This many shitshows under one roof, no way he’d miss that. The temptation for the capacity for chaos was too great.

Supposedly Lauren wasn’t invited either, but he didn’t put it past her to show up uninvited as well. As much as he trusted that she wouldn’t want to rip up the meal ticket she scored with his parents, Adonis still wanted to make sure she didn’t show up spreading falsehoods about him and his family. His friends knew so little about his daughter beyond the fact that she lived with his parent’s, he didn’t need Lauren filling in the blanks for them.Luckily the disgraced former queen bee had yet to have blessed them with her presence.

After going around saying hellos, grabbing a drink, Adonis drifted to the billiards table. People were playing for fun and that was cool, but Adonis wanted to liven things up a bit. He managed to get some guys to bet 50 on a game, letting them win by just a hair before asking them to go double or nothing - even giving them an extra turn per round so they each had a go. Of course the offer was too sweet to refuse. He of course dragged their asses across the green felt table and emptied their wallets too.

Dylan saw the invite to the party and immediately wanted to decline. She did not associate with others from her past too often, the odd time she would hang out at Erin’s bar or she would spend time with Soren, but when she graduated she moved far away and did not really want to return.

Malibu was nice, it had the beaches she desired, the open air to just be who you wanted to be. It was far away from their parents, and all the people who ever made her feel small. Unfortunately her life did not warrant being in Malibu long, because before long she ended up back in New York City, apparently the city of dreams.

The woman never saw New York City in the same light, but it was where she could succeed at getting people’s money and doing what she did best, being an absolute con artist. Of course that led her back into her husband Damien’s life along with a few others, Adonis being one of them.

Damien had some affairs to attend to, and Dylan would never get in the way of that, so she got ready and came to the party by herself. It wasn’t long after getting a drink that she made her way over to the best part of the party, the billiards. They doubted there would be any poker games, so the next best way to get her money was the green felted tables.

“Aye, Dylan.” Adonis caught sight of the stunner, walking into the room. He just finished beating yet another sucker out of $20, chalking the tip of his cue stick victoriously. Rounding the table, he slid around to close the distance between them. His eyes darkened as he leaned in leaning against the cue stick, lights casting shadows from above that made his usually boyish features sharpen.

“You are looking. . .” His eyes dragged downwards before meeting their gaze again, lips upturned in an all too-knowing smirk. “Mighty fine.”

She leaned against the one side of the table sipping her drink as she watched the dark haired boy come up to her and close their distance. Immediately a sly grin was prompt on her face as he made his comment.

Dylan instantly did a 180 turn so he could see the back and turned back around to face him. She could say a plethora of words, but none of them would matter, if she really wanted to play around before her husband got here it would take zero words. It would be easy and efficient, but Dylan liked the cat and mouse chase a little too much.

“Is that the best you got, Adonis?” She teased him and immediately her arm stretched out so her fingertips could push against his shoulders to push him back a little. It was honestly just an excuse to engage in some sort of physical contact.

“I was coming to sweep up the cash over here, but it appears you already beat me to it.” She mused a little as their wrist made small swift motions swirling her drink around. Dylan wouldn’t tell anyone that it was just club soda and lime. As far as they knew there was gin in it, but no one needed to know about her personal life at a party. Some people already knew way too much, but those matters would be handled soon enough.

“Is there a way I might earn that money?” They said their eyes looked up at Adonis, but she made sure to keep them big and innocent as her lips formed into a small pout. Dylan was used to getting her with Adonis, and felt tonight would be no different.

“Don’t you already take enough of my money?” Adonis mocked an injury, clutching at his side. Dylan already bled him dry. He was at the club every day he could when he knew she’d be there, always sure to spring for the champagne room to buy them some extra time. When you were sleeping with the boss’s wife you had to be unorthodox with your methods.

Twirling the cue stick casually so that the tip was facing downward, he gently rapped it against Dylan’s leg. The wood made a soft slapping sound against her skin, Adonis glancing up suggestively. As he stepped forward the tip of the cue stick traced along the length of her leg slipping under the fabric as it slid up the slit of her dress. It all happened in one movement, so smooth that anyone else watching might not have noticed the nuance of his motions.

They almost lost their composure when Adonis mentioned her already getting most of his money. Of course she knew she already collected a lot of it in the champagne room, but for some of the things that they did, they needed the champagne room. This was especially true for the line of work her husband was in and well, Adonis was in.

She grinned, feeling the cue stick rub against her leg. It was enough to want to pull him into the bathroom and do something quickly, but running the risk of someone seeing and reporting to her husband? Not a chance. Lauren already held one of her cards, and if she showed up tonight she could lay it out on the table for everyone to see, no one else needed that power.

“What can I say? I’m just a selfish woman with many needs.” Dylan mused before having some of her drink, feeling the tip of the cue wander up her dress. It was so subtle, but yet so obvious. “I can play you for the money, if you want.” They offered, as much as the stripper loved to tease Adonis, she also knew about the right place and time for advances she wanted to make, and now wasn’t the time.

“Got any plans after this?”

“Well,” Adonis rubbed at his chin leaning in to whisper next. “Depends on what you’re doing.”

“I think I could schedule you in and do you after.” Dylan said quietly and just audible enough for Adonis to hear under the roar of the music. Though they could have their fun any day, the nostalgia of being around old friends added excitement to their affair. Things with these people always blew up at one point or another and Adonis definitely wanted in on the mess. He and Dylan both were creatures of chaos. It’s how they both ended up mixed in the cartel after the rest of their friends moved on.

“Come on, let’s play.” Adonis winked before quickly pulling back from Dylan’s space, turning back to the pool table. Going around to each pocket to throw the balls toward the center, then grabbing the rack roaming it across the green felt to capture each ball and arranging the set up. He looked up to Dylan as he centered the rack, giving her a mischievous grin. “Need me to break em’, or you think you can manage?”

In a manner of minutes, Adonis had set up their game, and Dylan grabbed a cue. She took her time to figure out which one she wanted to use, and by the time he asked her about breaking, she just chalked up her cue.

“Please, Adonis. I could break in my sleep.” They said as their body moved to be more level with the table their chest tilted down. Adonis used his cue stick as support as he leaned over, making no attempt at subtlety as he looked down Dylan’s dress. Dylan’s right hand was held firmly, but still loose enough for movement near the back of the cue stick, and her hand set up to prop and aim her shot up nicely.

The white ball was hit with precision and force that broke the balls apart, and a solid sunk into the left corner pocket. Adonis watched as it neatly rolled into the pocket, looking back at Dylan with a raised brow.

“Guess I’m solids.” She said grinning before taking her next shot which resulted in his turn.

“Alright then,” Adonis rubbed his hands together before analyzing the table. He had no intention of going easy on Dylan, he never did. “Game on.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies Character Portrait: Declan Sun Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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#, as written by TushoKa
Julian Davies.
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outfit. #8744ab.song.
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xxx And I'm a million different people
xxx From one day to the next
xxx I can't change my mold
xxx No, no, no, no, no

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Julian had been nervous all day. He was looking forward to the party, but at the same time it freaked him out. The last time he saw most of these people had been way before he ever went to prison. And although they might not say it to his face, he knew he was now known as ‘that guy that went to prison’. Whatever reason there had been for him going, he still had a hard time dealing with the stereotype that came with it.

Thankfully there had been his host for this evening. He wished there were more people like Erin, putting some faith in people that did their time. He had been working his ass off for months now in order to prove her right. And although he had never seen himself as a barman, it suited him well enough. He always made sure to split his tip with his colleagues and kept an eye on the regulars. Most of the people he had seen after his sentence was because of the Golden Owl. It was the new leaf he had been waiting to turn over for quite some time. And he had no interest in going back into any unsavoury business.

”So what time will you be ready?” he shouted at the bathroom door. His sister didn’t respond. Julian had been quick and efficient. In all honesty, he did not have a huge wardrobe to choose from. So he had settled on a simple polo and just prayed it would be anywhere near what the others would be wearing.

Julian had aimlessly walked through the living room, glancing at his phone, browsing through pictures he saw of people gearing up for the party. He always hated being late, and it wasn’t the first time his sister had been delaying him.

”Come on, Jay-jay. We’re gonna be late. I don’t want to get there when the party is basically over…” He was talking while leaning and knocking on the door. He almost dropped in when the door was suddenly opened.

”Julian, if you can’t wait, just go already.” The look on her face was one of anger. He recognised it easily as she looked at him with the same frown more than once a day. ”It’s only a short cab ride, so I can make my own way, and I don’t need you to take care of me. As you can see, I’m busy.”

He could see how she’d been busy with her hair. Just like it did with their mom, hair always took forever. Jade had started as soon as she got home and had kicked him off the couch in the process. ”Well…, you might be faster if you wouldn’t be listening to music while getting ready…” he said, grasping at straws.

”This music is a medical report podcast about anesthesiology in paediatrics and is a whole lot more interesting than your whining. So go the party, and I’ll meet you there.” With that she slammed the door in his face, barely leaving him the second it took to make sure it didn’t actually hit his face.




Julian paid with the change in his pocket. He already felt guilty on how he had been to his little sister. She’s trying so hard to better her life, and others as well by studying medicine, it was not right for him to give her a hard time. As he got out of the cab, he stared at the huge apartment. Jade’s apartment was surely good enough, and he could only thank her for letting him sleep on the couch on such a regular basis. But this apartment was something else all together.

As he got in he spotted the familiar faces quickly. He saw Erin first, in the middle of the dance floor with Evie. He made his way over to them first.
”Hey boss, thanks again for the invite. Nice to have one of our old school parties.” He smiled at her genuinely.
”Hey Evie, nice to see you again. She’s not here yet, but my sister should be here soon, I’m sure she’ll be happy to see you again.”
With that he let them be and walked on. He almost had the feeling like he walked in on something he shouldn’t have.

Before he made his way over to the next group, he was attacked. Livvy gave him a big hug.
”Hey Liv, it’s good to see you. I’ve missed you.” Missing her was an understatement. It was always nice to find someone who can speak your language, and Livvy was one of the few in the group who did. He didn’t know what else to say. Of all people he had expected Livvy to visit him, but she had been very distant. Of course her work didn’t give her the chance, but he couldn’t fully rationalise she had not even sought contact through phone or letter.
They let go of each other, as they were each still making their way through the room.

His next stop was the kitchen, where he picked up three beers, before he made his way over to the billiards. He had already spotted Dylan and Adonis. ”Good evening, people of the good life. Dylan, how are you?” As he asked Dylan, he gave a quick hug to Adonis.
”You guys looked like you could use some refreshments.” He handed each of them a fresh beer, before he clinked his bottle against theirs. ”Well, this is all a bit overwhelming. Cheers!”

As he looked up, he saw Simon and Robyn on the dance floor. Not sure if Simon could see it, he just held up his beer as a greeting. From his face he could see his friend was enjoying himself.






Jade Davies.
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outfit. #cb0e36.song.
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xxx No one on the corner has swagger like us
xxx Hit me on my burner prepaid wireless
xxx We pack and deliver like UPS trucks
xxx Already going hell, just pumping that gas

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Jade was tired the moment her shift was over. But she had been looking forward to this evening ever since Julian told her about it. So she had already picked out her outfit, but after a week of eleven hour shifts, she needed to do her hair first. With part of her hair tightened to the side, she was fighting with the straightener to iron out the other. She was listening to a podcast her senior physician had recommended. They hadn’t said it in those specific words, but Jade didn’t need a lot to get the hint.

That unlike her brother who annoyed the living daylights out of her. She had said it was okay for him to sleep on the couch, but he took that suggestion with more liberty than she liked. With the comb between her teeth and the straightener on the side of the sink, she changed sides to tackle the other part of her hair. The process had been going on for hours, but usually she would last a while before she had to do this again. She would rather kill herself than to appear at this party looking disheveled.

After talking of her brother she heard the door slam, indicating he’d finally left. She wouldn’t give him much credit, but at least she knew about the party through him. Jade doubted she would have received her own invitation. She had posted some pics throughout the week, already referencing the party. She knew Lauren would at least see those. Jade wanted to see her, wanted to confront her with her accomplishments. She wanted to show Lauren, she had outgrown her. This party was the perfect opportunity for that.

Finally ready with her hair she could see the absolute mess she had made. The whole floor was wet, as if there had been a flood. With her feet she wiped a towel over the floor to fix the worst of it. Then she put on her make up and got dressed. She wondered if Gabriella would be there too. She hoped so, her ex might be able to dodge her calls, but that would be a lot harder to do in person. She missed her, there was no doubt about that. But things weren’t lost, she just needed to get in contact with her again.

Lastly Jade put on the skirt and top she had already prepared. The top matched her bright red lipstick and looking into the mirror she was happy. This will be a night to remember. She grabbed her bag and 3 small bottles from her dresser. They were all filled with a selection of pills, pretty much a party mix.
She left the apartment for the cab stand. With a wink and a smile she said hi to the driver, who had been expecting her. Getting into the back, she leaned forward and handed the driver one of the bottles. ”All there. Now, do me a favour and drop me off at this address.”
She showed the address on her phone to the driver who just thanked her and started driving.




Jade left the cab and got to the apartment she had been looking for. Okay…just gonna assume most of this is Soren’s money…
As she climbed the stairs, she could feel a tingling in her stomach. She had been looking forward to this.

Inside it was already rather busy. But fashionably late was kind of her style in any case. She walked across the dance floor towards the kitchen. She saw her brother and some others near the billiards. She waved quickly and gave a small, almost non-perceivable wink to Adonis. Something about the look on his face told her that he’d seen her post. She had been out to lunch with Adonis’ mother 2 weeks ago, and she had learned the baby that was there was in fact Adonis’.
With her aim towards paediatrics she certainly had a professional interest, but even she had to admit that she posted the selfie of Adonis’ child with herself purely to rile him up.

The kitchen had been her best guess, and when she got in, she wasn’t disappointed. She gulped when she saw Gabriella, after a whole year. The last time she had seen her had been at the hospital. Jade had come by later, some time after the overdose. Ella had been asleep when she entered. Jade had looked at the chart and had figured out quickly that Ella was going to be fine. The relief she had felt then was overwhelming, and she had left before Gabriella would have had the chance of waking up.
She looked relaxed, full on in party mode.

Doing her best not to look at Gabriella or ‘homewrecker Declan’ for that matter, she walked over to Dean. She very nearly pushed Robyn out of the way in order to get to Dean. ”Hey babez, sorry for being late.” loud enough for all of them to hear.
She leaned forward to plant her lips on his, even just for a bit. Then she leaned back and looked at Robyn. ”Oh, hi sweetie. How are you holding up? I heard about Nate. I was so sorry to hear about his accident.” she put her hand on Robyn’s upper arm in an effort to show some empathy. With her smile and friendly eyes some people might even be convinced of her concern.
”If we can do anything to help, you just need to shout, all right?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Declan Sun Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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evie addams.
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outfit. #b59eab.
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xxx I don't feel sorry for you
xxx Cause now the tables turning
xxx And now the bridge is burning
xxx It's coming crashing down

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In some ways, Evie didn’t realise that she was searching for someone in particular until that someone materialised beside her, with a wry comment and that charming smirk. Evie grinned and returned Erin’s side hug. She laughed and shrugged a little at the comment. “Never really know what to do with myself,” she admitted with an honest laugh. For years, she’d just followed Lauren around and followed her example. Figuring out what to do with her own agency, as her own person, took a little bit of time. Erin’s comment about not being a party animal herself made her chuckle a little. Evie wasn’t quite sure that she believed Erin on that, but she appreciated the comfort nonetheless.

Evie wasn’t quite sure how to react when Erin declared that she had to go with her, gently taking Evie’s drink from her and setting it down. She had to fight back a blush as Erin took her hand, but felt that her huge, cheesy smile had to give her away, as she nodded at Erin’s request for a dance. “Sure,” she managed to get out, before tugging Erin towards the dance floor.

Evie had never really gotten to spend much time with Erin before. Erin and Lauren had hated each other, and Evie had always just stuck with Lauren, no matter the horrible things that she was saying. But now, Evie wanted to make up for that, and get to know the real Erin, not the version that Lauren painted of her. And if that started with dancing and having fun together, well, who was she to turn it down?

For once, Evie wasn’t worried about how she looked or what people thought of her. As a teenager, her mind had always been on whether or not she looked “hot”, how she compared to Lauren and Jade and Camilla, what they thought of her, what everyone else thought of her. But no more. Now, she was focused on the moment and on having fun. Because that’s what she was doing; having fun. She was laughing and dancing with Erin, not worrying about whether people were staring or what they could possibly be thinking. She spotted Gabriella and gave an excited, albeit brief wave, that she wasn’t sure whether or not the other girl saw.

She grinned as Julian approached them, almost a little awkwardly, to say hello to Erin. The once or twice that Evie had swung by the Golden Owl, she’d seen Julian behind the bar, and while they hadn’t necessarily talked much, it was good to see him doing well. Her smile faltered a little bit at the mention of Jade, but she nodded. “Good to see you, mate.”

They got back to dancing and enjoying themselves for another little while. And then, as Evie turned, she caught a glimpse of a familiar figure, one that sent chills down her spine, and she froze.




lauren clark.
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outfit. #540000.
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xxx Honey, I rose up from the dead,
xxx I do it all the time
xxx I've got a list of names
xxx and yours is in red, underlined

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Getting back in contact with Camilla might just have been the best decision Lauren had made. If she hadn’t, she probably wouldn’t have heard about this little party. Jade had been making vague posts about it all week on instagram as well, probably with the intention of catching Lauren’s interest. It was a cute attempt, really, but Camilla had already spoiled that surprise for Jade. Lauren had liked the posts, of course, but hadn’t particularly engaged with them beyond that. She knew that Jade was likely to try and impress her, or show her that she had somehow surpassed Lauren in terms of being the Queen Bee, a thought that made Lauren genuinely laugh.

She already knew all of her old favourite toys would be there. Lauren smiled at the thought as she leaned in to add the finishing touches to her eyeliner. It was Erin’s apartment, which meant that Soren was also guaranteed to be there. He thought he’d called her bluff when she’d threatened to tell the world about all of his little secrets. And truth be told, she’d been tempted to post the pictures she had, just to spite him. But when she’d heard about the party, she figured that she’d have the opportunity to get even more dirt on him. Being with a rockstar was exactly the angle her reputation needed right now, even one that was known to be the opposite of the stereotype. The aesthetics were all that mattered. She had her ways of getting everything else she wanted. She always had; her relationship with him had always been about the aesthetics and the fun of it all.

And then, of course, there was Erin herself. Oh, the things that Lauren had on Erin. Erin had gotten bold around the time that Evie had gotten herself sent to hospital and had blamed it all on Lauren. But a twisted smile and a reminder of the information that Lauren had, and Erin had dropped it. That sort of power over one of her most notorious critics was the most intoxicating kind.

She’d also heard through a reliable source that Dean was going to be there, which meant that his shadow of a brother was also likely to be there. At least she knew that there was likely to be a bit of fun if Dean was there. Declan was a little bit of a complication, having taken the sides of those such as Evie and Gabriella over the years, but as far as she was concerned, he wasn’t likely to be a problem or a barrier to her being able to have a little bit of fun.

Showing up to a party on time was overrated, and not her style. She wanted to make sure that all eyes would be on her when she arrived. And so, she waited, booking her taxi for an hour after the time that Camilla had told her. Camilla had been oh so generous in telling Lauren all of the details, acting as the perfect little minion. She’d fallen right back into Lauren’s clutches and all it had taken was a few friendly texts, comments hyping her up on instagram, and some juicy gossip, and it was like nothing had ever happened between them. Of course, it had, and Lauren wasn’t going to forget their little conversation in the hospital any time soon. But being friends with Camilla was in Lauren’s interests at the minute, and so, she’d make sure to stay on her good side for as long as was required.

She stepped out of the taxi and scanned the building in front of her. She shook her head, smiling to herself as she imagined how the hell Erin explained how she could afford this apartment to people. Everyone knew that the Golden Owl couldn’t be making that much money to be able to afford a nice place like this. There were one or two stragglers outside, who saw her and froze. She didn’t recognise them; which meant they either feared her by reputation, or her appearance was enough to strike fear into them. Lauren’s wicked smile grew a little. Either of those things were good. She took her time making her way into the apartment. If anyone recognised her, she wanted them to be sure that it was her. She wanted everyone to know that she was there, and that she meant business.

The dance floor was right in front of her as she finally stepped into the apartment itself. She could already see a few familiar faces. Those familiar faces began to do double takes as they noticed her. Evie and Erin were out dancing on the floor together, laughing and apparently oblivious to the looks and the comments that were being made about them. It was cute, really, but Lauren knew that with a few well placed revelations, she could change the way they looked at each other forever.

But it was probably a bit early in the party to begin plotting anyone’s downfall just yet.

As Evie twirled, she spotted Lauren and froze, the smile falling from her face in an instant and her expression turning to one of horror. That was Lauren’s cue, it seemed. She spotted Camilla and strode towards her. As she walked, all conversation seemed to die, save for whispers that were barely heard over the music; some emo shit that Soren had presumably chosen.

“Hello, darling,” Lauren called, leaning in to kiss Camilla on the cheek. “Thank you so much for inviting me to this… wonderful little party,” she said. “I’m so psyched to be able to see all my old… friends again,” she said, turning and scanning the room. Her smile widened as she realised that practically all of their old group was there. All of her favourite toys. All of the people whose secrets she still knew, who she still held in the palm of her hand.

All of the people she could, and would ruin.




soren bowers.
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outfit. #4d5676.
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xxx I've been staying up all night
xxx Shaking needles out my spine
xxx But the doctor says I'm fine
xxx Feels good to be alive, but I hate my life

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Soren grinned at Erin as she passed. As he got into the kitchen, he heard a familiar voice calling out to him, offering him a beer. He grinned and held out his hand. “You’re a mind reader, Gabriella,” he called, accepting the drink. But before he could properly greet Gabriella, she turned to Declan (who Soren only realised was there as she did so), said something he couldn’t quite hear and left. Soren recovered, taking a mouthful of his beer, and took a moment to compose his thoughts.

And then Declan also left, apparently having not noticed Soren’s arrival either. Soren just took another drink, sighing a little. He felt vaguely deflated by the fact that the only person that seemed to have really paid any heed to him was Camilla and her comment about his shirt. But he didn’t have time to dwell on it. Because as he looked back out towards the dance floor, he saw something that sent shivers down his spine.

Lauren was there. She kissed Cam on the cheek, before turning to scan the room. Lauren’s eyes landed on Soren, and her smile became even more wicked. He made his way towards her, unsmiling as he approached.

“Soren, darling, how wonderful to see you as well. You look fantastic, and what a wonderful party,” she said. He didn’t smile, and that just seemed to make hers widen.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” He asked.
“My darling friend Camilla here invited me,” she said. Soren instinctively shot a glare at Cam, before turning his attention back to Lauren. She bet him to the punch however.

“Come on then, Sor, darling, be the gracious host we all know you are,” she said, taking a step towards him and cupping his face. He froze for a second, conscious of everyone watching them. He pushed her hand away, as calmly but as insistently as he could.
“Leave,” he said, loudly enough for everyone to hear. Her eyes shone with a dangerous energy, a warning, her whole demeanour like a trickster goddess, waiting for someone to fall in her trap. And it seemed like somebody just had.
“Are you going to make me?” She asked. There was nothing playful in her tone, even if it was light. He braced himself, knowing that the sting was coming. “Do you really think you’d be able to do that? What with your bad hip and all of your… other problems?” She asked, her tone cold and harsh, and somehow still light. She made sure that everyone would hear, and that they’d be hanging on to her every word. She really hadn’t changed. And then she smiled, her demeanour changing back to friendly and open. “I really can’t wait to catch up with all of you again,” she said, turning to address the party, and choosing another target to go talk to. Soren went to follow her or to say something, but somebody grabbed his arm to hold him back.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Declan Sun Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo Character Portrait: Jeremy Williams
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Olivia Eriksen
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Art Conservator/Starving Artist | outfit. | Song |#8B8000.
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xxx I wanna paint your face
xxx Like you're my Mona Lisa
xxx I wanna be a champion
xxx I wanna be a loser

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Livvy should've picked a better place to sketch she decided. Part of her was scolding herself for not interacting more, but her travel had made it hard to keep in touch with a lot of people. Many reconnected with old friends and some... made new friends. She always had Simon, of course, but they couldn't cling to one another like Rose and Jack in the Titanic. The scene with the door still upset her. There was plenty of room on that damn door for Jack! She shook her head sharply, getting lost in her thoughts. She took another sip as someone grabbed her in a hug from behind and she squeaked--actually squeaked--as Gabriella embraced her. "Hello to you too," she said with a laugh. Gabriella, one of those new friends/old friends who found new friends with old friends (she should make a mind map to follow all the friendships around here), turned her attention to Soren. Livvy gave him a small nod and went back to sketching. She saw Soren every now and then, but he was more Simon's kind of guy. They shared a love of music.

Only Julian shared Livvy's love of art.

She had half a thought to go find him when more faces filled the kitchen and she started to feel a bit crowded. With a grunt, she tossed her things in her little bag and moved around the island to try to find a different space to exist in. She heard a familiar voice--Robyn's--greet someone that made Livvy stop in her tracks. Dean.

There he was. Just as attractive as he was in high school. More so with that swagger and his hair. She felt her palms get sweaty and realized she was staring. Thankfully he didn't seem to notice. In fact, he didn't seem t see her at all. She moved to join in the conversation with Simon's new love interest and her old flame with she walked in. Livvy was never a fan of Jade. She never liked the way she treated her brother. She wouldn't be surprised if she had anything to do with Julian getting locked up. It wasn't long before Dean made his relationship clear.

And just like that, Livvy found herself leaving the room altogether... and snagging a bottle of strawberry liqueur and made her way into another room. She low-key hoped Simon didn't see. She knew she'd get an ear full of it later.

While she found Julian, much to her dismay, she had also run into someone else she wasn't entirely sure how to respond to. Adonis. Guilt swept through her again as she hadn't reached out lately. She had been busy with paintings and weddings. And he had been busy with Fleur and... if she was reading the room right, Dylan maybe? Livvy didn't know much about Dylan. She was a gorgeous woman with the kind of curves Livvy would kill for. She subconsciously ran a hand over her chest, bound in her black tube top. She took a swig from the bottle and walked over.

"Hey, guys! What's uh... what's up?" She lifted a hand to run her fingers through her hair like she usually did when she was nervous, but she spent a good amount of product trying to keep the volume in her hair so she let it drop. "Are we playing pool? Could do guys vs. ladies?"

Livvy, she thought, Shut the hell up.







Simon Rizzo
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Barista | outfit | Song |#489A4A.
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xxx I'm always screaming my lungs out
xxx till my head starts spinning
xxx Playing my songs is the way I cope with life
xxx Won't keep my voice down
xxx Know the words I speak are the thoughts I think out loud

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As Simon danced with Robyn, he noticed movement behind her and glanced over to find Julian. He gave a small wave with the promise to catch up with him later. They haven't talked as much as they used with their work schedules but they found time where they could. Robyn was gorgeous tonight, with her curls and her adorable smile. He wanted to tell her what, exactly, he felt for her, but he still wasn't sure if she was ready after Nate. They hadn't ever talked about it.

So instead, he just enjoyed the time he had with her.

Once they finished dancing, she went to get a drink, and he moved off to the side to give others room to dance. He noticed Livvy slink off, but missed the bottle she had snatched. He did however notice Declan in the kitchen with Gabriella. It had been a while since they connected and while things ended fine between them, he did miss the friendship that had at one time. He made a move to join them...And that's when Cam walked up. He barely recognized her with the way her hair was styled, her lack of bright red lipstick. It was like, she dropped the Camilla she was on stage and became a different Camilla. Interesting.

Sputtering like a high school boy, he replied, "H-Hey, Cam-Camilla-Cam." He cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck. "It has, in fact, been a while. You look great. Did you do something with your hair?" She asked him about his "comic shop" and he instantly knew she hadn't changed a ton since high school. It helped him mellow a bit. "Just a book store. And a coffee shop. And it's not mine I just work there. Well, I manage it." He gave an uncomfortable chuckle.

Then, he could almost hear a record scratch. Could almost feel the ice that filled the room (or was it heat?) as the fire-breathing bitch queen appeared. All sly smiles and cocky attitude. She kissed Cam on the cheek, thanking her for inviting her. His eyes snapped to his ex, filled with what he could only describe as betrayal. Not that he could say he was entirely surprised. He was just thankful Livvy wasn't in the room. She wasn't sure if she'd try to claw the woman's eyes out or jump her to complete her stupid list.

Lauren's eyes roved the room and landed on poor Soren. The energy in the room turned electric, crackling with aggression as he confronted her. She revealed something about a bad hip of his, but Simon dismissed it. The woman liked to play games. And even if she wasn't playing, it was none of Simon's business. She breezed by him, a wraith with no real substance, and he moved to go after her, but Simon reached out to grab his arm. "Let her go, man. It's not worth it." He watched her go and continued, "She likes a chase."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies
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location: the den
time: 10 mins prior to Ultimate Bitch’s arrival
vibes: complicated


A prouder man might have claimed to have let the pretty little thing win but the truth was that Dylan dragged Adonis across the green felt table. To be fair, the dress she was wearing was very distracting. He counted out some bills from his previous earnings, giving Dylan a familiar look. Usually he was handing them money under much more appealing circumstances. He stepped in towards Dylan once again, careful to leave just enough space to allow room to cast doubt between them at a glance.

“I guess technically we didn’t decide on how much to bet - but after that ass whooping I think just outright half my winnings is appropriate.” Adonis glanced downward as he slid the money into Dylan’s hand. “Though, if I’m being honest - wouldn't mind a consolation prize.”

He saw Julian heading their direction, giving him a nod as he took a step back from Dylan. Adonis and Dylan both had a way about them that made it seem like they were flirting with everyone they spoke to, so no one ever really suspected much between them - at least not anymore than they did with them and anyone else. Truthfully, the secret added to the fun.

“Hey man, what’s up.” Adonis said to Julian as he joined them, the two giving one another a hug before Julian handed him a beer. Clinking their bottles against one another and mumbling a vague thanks, Adonis took a swig of his beer giving Dylan a knowing look. Looks like the rest of their fun would have to wait.

“To be honest I’m surprised so many people are showing up. Someone said even Camilla’s coming.” Adonis shrugged in response to Julian, looking in the direction of the living room where Simon and Robyn were dancing. He wasn’t sure when they arrived but if Simon was here, that meant Livvy had to be around here too.

As if summoned by his thoughts, Livvy’s small voice breaking through the cacophony around them. She ran her hands through her hair nervously when she spoke. Adonis could tell that Livvy was ill at ease. No specific reason, just a gut feeling. Even her voice was off, strained like she was trying to force herself to sound okay. He gave her a look as if to ask her if she was alright, noticing the bottle in her hand and quirking an eyebrow.

"Are we playing pool? Could do guys vs. ladies?" She challenged them.

“Please, Dylan already whooped my ass once. Even my pride has a limit.” Adonis joked, walking around to wrap an arm across Livvy’s shoulders. “Come on though, help me set it up. I bet Julian has a game in him.”

Guiding Livvy just a few steps away from Julian and Dylan, he spoke in a low voice. “Hey - you okay?”

Livvy considered, for only a moment, denying her discomfort. However, if Adonis knew her well enough to know that something was off about her, he’s likely going to know if she wasn’t being entirely truthful. Again, she lifted her hand to run her fingers through her hair, but instead tucked a stray lock of her bangs behind her ear. “That obvious, huh?”

She took a sip from the bottle before putting it down on the table and grabbed the rack to start setting up the next game. She had to reach to retrieve one of the billiard balls from the center of the table. It was a little bit of a struggle. Curse my short torso, she thought just as her fingers skimmed the ball and it went rolling further down the table. Adonis smirked as he watched her squirm trying to reach, scooping it up as it rolled away.

She sighed. Turning to him again she said, “I guess I’m just… out of my element these days. Back in high school I would’ve gotten--do the kids still say ‘turnt’?--as soon as I walked through the door. Today I grabbed a drink and started sketching.” She grabbed the bottle and shook its contents lightly. “I came to party though, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Placing his hand over the bottle with one hand and offering the pool ball with the other, Adonis stepped in towards Livvy. He looked down with a half-smirk. The way she fumbled through her words, her movements they were all so subtle yet it was so easy for him to read. He liked that about her.

“Look,” Adonis took the bottle from her, taking a long swig. “Lord knows I’m not going to be the one to preach moderation. Personally, I love this energy - you know I do. I just . . . don’t want you to fall into my kind of bullshit. You’re better than that.”

At his close proximity, she felt heat slowly climbing up her face. She knew he could probably see it. She was pale as a cloud and the lighting in here was bright enough. She sputtered and reached for the bottle, practically snatching it from him. “You’re right,” She agreed, “You’re not one to preach moderation.” She took another sip, though a much smaller one while he was watching her. “I’m a grown ass adult and I can make my own dumb decisons, thank you very much.”

Adonis rolled his eyes, running a hand through his hair as he exhaled roughly. She had a point but he still couldn’t help but to feel responsible now. She paused. After placing the bottle on the table again, she reached for the ball he was holding and dropped it into the rack. With the other hand, she smoothed down the collar of his dress shirt, her finger brushing against the warm skin of his neck as she did so. “The fraternity look doesn’t suit you.”

“It’s a work uniform,” He said gruffly. To anyone else he might have sounded annoyed but it was just his default demeanor.

"I meant your collar, you dingus." She reached up and touched his collar, now fixed. "It popped." She pantomimed a popped collar to emphasize her point. As she pulled her hand away he gently grabbed her wrist, holding her in place.

“Come on, this isn’t you.” Adonis pleaded.

Frustrated, she blew her bangs from her face and pulled her wrist from his grasp completely ignoring the lingering heat that tingled on her skin. “Maybe it is who I am. I never have the time to just… be anymore. Since high school it’s been a lot of traveling. A lot of being alone. Maybe I don’t want to feel alone anymore.” She grabbed the bottle from the table and took a swig. With her other hand, she passed a cue. “And maybe, this is the first step in me getting back to that person I was.”

She dropped the remaining balls into the rack and shook it a bit. “Try not to hit the white ball in the hole.”

Adonis took the cue stick, looking over to Julian with a look of resignation. If Livvy wanted to make bad decisions tonight that would be fine. Regardless Adonis would make damn sure he would be around to make sure she didn’t get too deep into trouble. That was the problem with these kinds of friends, they brought out the worst in you. Adonis had long just accepted that’s who he was but Livvy had gotten out of their drama. Maybe she just needed a reminder why she stopped hanging around with the rest of them as much.

Over Julian’s shoulder he could see Dylan walking back through the living room towards the main entrance, seemingly on her phone. He wasn’t sure if she just wanted a breath of fresh air or needed to make a call or maybe just was annoyed with him, either way he felt like he should follow. Passing the cue off to Julian, leaning in when he spoke so that Livvy couldn’t hear him.

“Hey, keep an eye on her. I don’t know what’s up but . . .” Adonis left it at that, looking back to Livvy who had been waiting for him to join the game. “Julian’s going to take this round but I’ll be right back.”

Adonis came around the table, acting like he was about to pull Livvy into a one armed hug before faking her out and grabbing the bottle from her hand. Holding it out at arms length he wrapped his free arm around her looking back at Julian. “Don’t whoop my man’s ass too bad, I already got my ego bruised enough tonight to pay reparations at least through the weekend.”

Irritated, she reached for the bottle, but of course it was beyond her reach. She pushed out from his embrace and managed to grab it. She held it behind her back and stepped away from him. “Your rabbit’s getting away, Nis.” She purred.

His expression softened, almost pleading. A part of him wanted to say it wasn’t like that, it was just business but Livvy could see through his bullshit. At the end of the day though he was out of line. Livvy could do as she pleased and Adonis was in not place to tell her otherwise. Huffing with defeat he gave a semi-shrug, indicating that he was no longer going to try to pry the bottle from her.

“I’ll be back.” He repeated, this time more forcefully. Flashing a look to Julian again to reinforce what he had earlier said to the man, Adonis then turned on his heel working through the crowd towards where he saw Dylan last.

Livvy waited for Adonis to be out of earshot before she snorted. “Yeah. Sure. You’ll be back.” She took a drink from the bottle before placing it, capped, on the floor besides the table and grinned at Julian. “Lets see if these old hands still have it in them to whoop your butt in pool.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Adonis Galante
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Lauren Clark
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Public Influencer | Attire | #540000
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Erin Monaghan
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Bartender | Attire | #800000
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Erin grinned when Evie didn’t even bother to argue owing her a dance, she’d count the small victories where she got them, she guessed. Erin couldn’t help but let out a chuckle as Evie finished pulling her over to the dancefloor, nearly toppling over into the other woman as Erin almost lost her balance. But managed to recover from it as gracefully as she could. While they had never exactly been the closest of friends, due to obvious reasons, Erin was thankful that Evie had decided to give her a shot in the end. But, in retrospect, seeing how hard and often Erin did end up fighting for Evie, regardless of them not really being friends when they were younger, it made some semblance of sense. Erin didn’t give up on Evie when she could have all those years ago, even though she had the right to; it just wasn’t who Erin was. She saw someone who needed help, who was an underdog and being taken advantage of and manipulated. She’d be damned if she let it all slide just because Evie was a friend of Lauren’s.

Infact, Erin didn’t really care about anything, or anyone. Least not where it wasn’t a concern for her. Like where she was now, finally just getting to talk and enjoy someone’s company, who she was beginning to consider a good friend. Erin deliberately chose to ignore the looks she could see others throwing their way, or the occasional comment she managed to get the tail-end of. She didn’t care what people thought, she had spent so much time worrying what they thought, but not now. That wasn’t important. What was important, was who she was with now, and she’d be damned if they didn’t have fun with this first dance. The two danced entirely off beat from the music that played overhead. Erin would occasionally give Evie a spin, would hold Evie in the crook of her arm as the two gave each other a dramatic, playful look before she let her go. And the two would just end up laughing at the end each time. For just a short period of time, Erin felt like a young kid again, no cares or worries. For the first time, in a long time, she genuinely felt happy.

It was only when Erin managed to catch an all too familiar face approaching them, that the two finally broke away from dancing for a few minutes. Erin gave Julian a genuine smile, as she pulled him into a small side hug, giving him a first handshake at the same time before stepping back ”Hey Julian! It’s great to see you made it, man.” Erin greeted him, ”Oh absolutely. I figured since most were already in town, and could rope in a few of the others, it’d be worth a shot to see who could come. So, glad to see ya, enjoy the party, okay?” the brunette said with her smile still remaining, but faltered ever so slightly when Julian mentioned his sister to Evie. That wouldn’t be good, she thought for a moment. Before giving Julian a small nod and smile as he excused himself and went to go talk to a few others.

After exchanging a small side glance with Evie for a moment, before Erin just forced out a chuckle, ”So that just happened.” she exhaled sharply, rubbing her neck for a moment, before looking back at Evie, ”Okay, screw it just being one dance. Another one is in order to recover from that- Erin chuckled, and pulled Evie back over for a few more minutes of dancing.

It couldn’t have been more than five minutes later when Erin gave Evie another outwards spin, and watched as she stopped cold in her tracks. Her eyes locked on something in the crowd. A concerned look overcame Erin’s face as she raised an eyebrow, and moved over closer to Evie to see what had caught her eye to freeze like that. It was only then that Erin saw not just what, but more precisely who that caused such a reaction from Evie.

Mother fucking, god damn Lauren Mother Fucking Clark

Erin’s mind went entirely blank as her body locked up, her temperature rising as she could feel her blood beginning to boil. How in the ever living fuck did she get here? Well, Erin had some ideas, someone must have told her about it, or assumed she was invited, for whatever god forsaken reason. And when she found out who told Lauren about it, all bets were off. This was the one party, Erin wanted without drama. And the god damn fucking Queen of all drama just walked in. Kill me. Erin thought for a moment, finally feeling control of her body come back, she pinched the arch of her nose, an exasperated sigh escaping her lips.

Finally, looking back over at Evie, Erin gently placed a hand on the shorter woman’s shoulder, ”I’m gonna go take care of it, okay? You...You get a new drink, and chill, okay? I’ll come and check up on you after, I promise.” she said with a reassuring smile, gently giving Evie’s shoulder a gentle squeeze before she turned on her heels, her expression entirely falling flat. Her eyebrows knitting together, her jaw tensed into a locked position. Her eyes set on her target, watching as she walked into the kitchen. Erin knew if she immediately followed Lauren, it wouldn’t end well. So, for now her eyes darted around the room. Finding an all too familiar set of blond locks of hair headed towards the game-den.

Erin hadn’t greeted her yet anyway, might as well as Erin lets herself cool off before confronting Queen Bitch Tits, right? Taking a deep breath, Erin made her way over to where she saw Livvy go. Erin had managed to enter the den just to hear the tail-end of whatever Livvy was saying, her eyes meeting those of Adonis’, Dylan, and a few others. ”Hey guys. Great to see you all made it.” Erin said with a smile. She gave Dylan a small wink, and a small nod of greeting to Adonis. Turning for a moment to look at Livvy, she gave the blond a small wink, and side-hug, ”We’ll have to catch up at some point, yeah? For now….I have to go talk to someone. Cya guys, later-” she gave another awkward nod and wave, and turned out of the den. Taking another deep breath, she walked towards the kitchen, stopping as she made it into the thresh-hold.

The moment she stepped into the kitchen, Erin could feel the tension. Whatever the hell happened in that short period of time, clearly wasn’t good, not that it was surprising. Seeing who was involved. Erin stood in the doorway, eyes locked on Lauren before looking at Soren, giving him an understanding look. Erin had this. Looking back at Lauren, Erin gave a small smirk, ”Lauren. Mind if we uh, go talk for a moment? Please?” she said through gritted teeth, her forced smile never once waning.

Lauren saw Erin appear, and her grin widened with delight. The other woman did not look happy, which meant that she was sure to be a bit of fun. Erin’s smirk was clearly forced, which just made Lauren’s own smile genuinely widen. As she asked to speak to her, Lauren drained her drink and put it down on the counter. “Of course, Erin,” she said sweetly, and made her way over to her. “Lead the way,” She said.

Erin continued to hold up the smile as she looked at Lauren, god she absolutely hated this bitch. Looking at the others for a moment, ”Won’t be too long, guys. Promise.” Erin motioned with her head to Lauren for her to follow, turning on her heels she walked through the thresh-hold of the kitchen and out into the living room, looking for a good spot to talk privately. Looking out through to the balcony, too many people. Kitchen was also busy. And she sure as hell wasn’t allowing Lauren into her room. With a sigh, Erin motioned once more and the two made their way into the hallway that led off from the living room. It was a bit dark due to the lighting set for the party, but it was fine enough.

After she was sure they could talk without being overheard, Erin turned to face Lauren, ”What the fuck are you doing here, Lauren? And more importantly, who the hell invited you? Cuz I know neither me or Soren did. So why are you here?” Erin questioned, the tone in her voice was clear she wasn’t just asking for the sake of curiosity. Erin was evidently beyond pissed off, and if Lauren was smart, she’d know full well how this would end, and it wasn’t going to be pretty.

Lauren raised an eyebrow as she and Erin found themselves just standing in a random hallway. She was sure that Erin had probably had somewhere else in mind, only to discover it was occupied, and that just amused Lauren. It was Erin’s apartment, and the best place she could think of for a serious conversation was the hallway. How cute. At Erin’s question, she just smirked.

“I’m here to just have a fun time and catch up with my friends. That’s why you threw this party, right?” She said, overplaying the innocence to an extent she knew would irritate Erin. “And Camilla was kind enough to invite me. Ever the sweetheart, that girl. She really just didn’t want me feeling left out, when all of my old friends were here. I didn’t want to miss the chance to catch up with all of my old friends, to… find out what’s been going on in their lives and see if I can… help them along in any way.” She chose her words carefully, sounding both innocent and venomous at once.

Erin couldn’t help but laugh at what Lauren said, knowing full well what she really meant. With a clenched jaw, Erin looked up at Lauren, ”We both know that’s bullshit.” Erin stated rather coldly, clearly not in the mood for any of this shit. Her eyes scanned over Lauren before speaking again, ”I don’t know what kind of games you may be wanting to play today, but not here. You pull anymore bullshit tonight, and I am kicking you out of this party my damn self, is that clear?” Erin’s eyes stared into Lauren’s, a burning anger was clear to see, even with the rather dark lighting. Erin was fuming, and anyone that knew her, knew she was close to entirely losing it at any moment.

Lauren laughed at Erin’s attempts to intimidate her. It was good to see she had finally grown something of a backbone, but Lauren intended on reminding Erin who’s boss. Of all people, Erin should have known not to mess with her. Erin had far, far too much to lose.

“You can certainly try,” Lauren said. “But let me make something clear. If you decide to try that? If you decide to try and ruin my evening? Well. I think I’ll start talking. I’ll tell everyone exactly how you afforded this… lovely apartment. I’ll tell everyone what you’ve been up to in the time since you’ve seen them. I’ll make sure everyone knows that you’re not as clean and as innocent and as nice as you pretend to be. Understood?” She asked, matching Erin’s burning anger with a cold, icy stare, and a venomous smile that was anything but friendly.

Erin could keep her chest tightening, jaw clenching tighter, and her blood boiling even more. She was so damn close to blowing up. Lauren didn’t want Erin to ruin her evening? That was nearly laughable, and would have been. If it wasn’t Lauren that said it. Erin had nearly started seeing red, as she stepped forward towards Lauren, nearly pushing the other woman against the other wall of the hallway. ”Yeah? At least if I get arrested this time, it’ll actually be fucking worth it.” she bit back, her tone showed that she was anything but happy. The whole thing sounded as if she was spitting venom from her lips, and truth be told, she may as well have been. All things considered.

She also made sure to keep her hands off of Lauren. Erin knew if there was even just a small bruise or discoloration, Lauren would spin it as assault. And she wasn’t going to go down like this. This was her party, and her evening to enjoy. ”Then you better listen to the fuck up right now. I will allow you to stay here, but if I hear another goddamn word, of you doing something like what you pulled with Livvy earlier, to anyone else?” Erin’s eyes remained glued on Lauren, ”I will not be responsible for what happens next. Because you are starting to tred on very thin ice.”

Lauren’s smile slowly slid from her face, her expression becoming one of steely determination. That seemed like a challenge and a threat all at once. And Lauren didn’t like either of those things. She stepped forward until there was no space between them. “Well then,” she said. “I’ll just have to make sure that you don’t hear about it then, won’t I?” Another venomous smile, before she turned on her heel and walked away.

Erin would have normally stepped down, become small and none confrontational. But now wasn’t one of those times. For the first time, in a long time, she felt herself able to stand up to Lauren, to only a degree. But it was still enough. Whether pure boldness, idiocy, or blind rage, she wasn’t stepping down from what she said. ”Yeah I doubt that.” she said coldly, watching as Lauren was the first one to step back, and then walked out of the hallway. Leaving Erin to her own devices. Erin took a deep breath, straightened herself up again, and made her way back into the living room. Looking around a bit, she needed to cool down.

Her eyes fluttered around the dance-floor again, but didn’t see anyone she wanted to try to distract herself with. So, option two was what was left. Erin pushed herself through the bodies of people on the dance-floor, and out onto the other side where the glass sliding door was, that led out to the balcony. She slid it open, leaving it open behind her and stepped out into the cool night air. As Erin walked over to the railed off edge, she retrieved a small packet from her jacket’s pocket, as well as a lighter. She hadn’t really smoked cigarettes in a while, but she wasn’t going to get stoned at this party. She needed to be of some clear mind tonight anyway. Erin retrieved a single cigarette, placed it between her teeth, and lit the other end with her lighter, before popping it back into her pocket. Erin kept herself leaning against the railing, her eyes glued to the city in front of her as she attempted to calm herself down, and clear her head before rejoining up with the rest of the others. She was not going to let Lauren ruin her party, or her mood.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies
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#, as written by TushoKa
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xLivvy EriksenJulian Daviesx
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"Artists Unite"

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xxoutfit.outfit.xx



Julian looked on at the discussion between Livvy and Adonis with some surprise. Either I am seeing things… or I missed more than I thought. Upon Livvy’s comment about his ass-whooping he handed her the cue.
”Well, let’s see this then. If I remember correctly you beat my butt in pool once. And I don’t intend to double your win-percentage tonight.”
He stood to the side to see her break.


While he waited he thought of Adonis trying to take the bottle away from her. The party had just started, so it wouldn’t be to stop her from doing something stupid. And as dysfunctional as their gang might be, Julian always tried his best to make sure everyone was safe and sound at the end of the night. He took a sip from his beer.
”So… what was that with Adonis? I know he’s a dad now, I just didn’t realise you were the child.”

She scratched. She hadn’t been expecting him to ask her about Adonis. She was focused on lining up the shot to break… and she scratched. ”Wait, no that doesn’t count!” A blush crept up her face, but she took a drink from the bottle on the ground in attempt to hide the cause. Totally the alcohol right? She placed the bottle back on the ground and bent in a second attempt to break. ”Yeah, apparently.” She managed in reply.

”Fine, go again Miss Scratchy.” He smiled and hoped it wasn’t actually the alcohol putting her off.
Julian raised his eyebrows, but kept his sight on the table. ”Apparently? You don’t have to tell me if it’s none of my business.” He watched Livvy concentrate enough to not mess up twice.

She gently nudged the cue forward, balancing the tip in the dip between her pointer and middle finger. It whacked the ball right where she needed it to, sending it flying into the rest and scattering them around the table. One of the solids slid into the corner pocket, marking them as hers. ”He’s always kind of been like that though. Around me anyway.” She moved around the table, eyeing the other solids and making a plan for her moves. Then she realized, ”Shit. I don’t remember if I hit again, or if it’s your turn since I sunk one.”

Julian walked around the table, smiling, feeling a bit more comfortable now he had something to do. He watched as Livvy’s second attempt actually put him at a disadvantage.
”You go again, and I’d go for orange if I were you.”
He walked in the exact opposite direction as Livvy, trying to find the best angles for his turn.
”Don’t get me wrong, I think all of us like to make sure you’re alright, of course.” He took another sip of beer, not really knowing where he was going.
”But of all people I wasn’t afraid you would do something stupid while I was … away.” he swallowed the last word, and wished he hadn’t said it at all.

Livvy stuck out her tongue, biting the tip in concentration. The alcohol was taking affect, her face numbing and the room moving softly. She eyed the orange...and then spotted the blue. She stared, nearly missing his comment as she contemplated her next move. Deciding the blue was not in a good enough spot, she moved around until she could line up the shot. She laughed a little. "No. I've been good since you… left."

She struck, sending the orange into the pocket at the side of the pool. "I'm sorry-by the way-for not… reaching out." She thumped the cue on the ground. "It was a rough time for me." She ran a hand across her bare abdomen. Brushing the phantom fingers from her skin. "But that's unfair. No one was having a worse time than you. I imagine." She lifted her eyes to meet his. "So. I’m sorry. I should've been there for you."

”Thanks.” Julian replied weakly. He didn’t want her to feel sorry. It was his own stupid fault he had been in prison in any case. He should have never brought Jade there, he should have known something wasn’t right.
”Don’t give yourself a hard time over me. That place drains the color out of a person, so it’s not for you.” He pointed at the table.
”Speaking of color, I think you should go for green next. And that’s the last hint I’m giving.” he laughed, trying to lighten the mood.

She smiled, but found she couldn't laugh. They had been close. Simon had gone to visit but she had stayed behind.

Seeing his own beer was finished he put it to the side. He reached for the ground and picked up the bottle Livvy had brought. ”You don’t mind if I help you with this, do you?” he opened the bottle and took a gulp, wiping his mouth on his arm before putting the bottle back on the ground.

She hadn't had time to object or approve the request as he had already taking a gulp of it. She smiled, wrinkling her nose. "I don't mind as long as you don't mind strawberry liquor. I've always been one for fruity drinks."

”Fruity drinks suit you. Colorful and sweet…., and too much sugar.” As she bend over to take the next shot Julian could see her swaying a bit. ”And the fruity drinks always get you faster than you expect them to.”

While he wiped his mouth, she lined up her shot of the green ball. She had to take a steady breath before she struck otherwise her vision swam, making it difficult to judge the right spot to hit. "Other than working for Erin," She asked, taking her shot and sent the ball spinning into the pocket, narrowly missing. "What have you been up to?"

Julian walked around the table to take the white ball out of the pocket. ”That’s two turns for me, thank you very much.” Livvy just stuck out her tongue at him. He put the ball back on the table and got into position. ”A few different things to be honest. You might be interested in some of them. One thing I’m trying to do lately is help out this dog shelter where puppies receive obedience training from inmates. I got to do that while I was there,and...” Julian stopped talking.
He had been lining up to take the shot when he got a glimpse of her…, Lauren.
”Who the hell invited her?” He leaned back up and didn’t take his eyes off of her. He nodded his head in Lauren’s direction.

Livvy straightened. She had been leaning against the table, watching his moves. Without looking, she knew to whom he was referring without having to look. But, she found herself turning, and finding Lauren in the middle of Erin's crowded living room. All eyes on her. Just how she liked it. "So the fire breathing bitch queen makes her appearance. Why am I not surprised?" Hovering nearby was Camilla.

Livvy snorted. "Of course, it was Cam. Some things never change."

He saw how Erin made her way over to them, no doubt putting a small break in between Lauren stepping in and Erin kicking her ass. Erin nodded to him, but addressed Livvy personally. ”We’ll have to catch up at some point, yeah? For now….I have to go talk to someone. Cya guys, later-”

"Yeah, sure." Livvy replied but Erin was already out of earshot and heading into the fray.

Erin walked off just as quickly as she had come around. ”I can’t decide if I want to hide away, or if I want front row seats to that conversation.”

Livvy's mind was a war of color. On the one hand, Lauren was a vicious bitch and was likely only here because she was bored and wanted to start some chaos. On the other, the side motivated by strawberry flavored liquor, she could shoot her shot. People hooked up at parties all the time and she'd finish the "Fuck" list that she was dared to make in high school. What's the worst she could do? Say no?

She smiled slyly. "Hey. I'll catch up with you later, ok?" She said as she started to walk from the room.

Julian called after her. ”Hey.. You gonna leave a guy hanging like that?” He couldn’t recognize if she heard him or not. He had to admit, Livvy seemed more excited for those front row seats than he was. He grabbed the bottle she left behind and took another jug, before bending back over the table to finally make the shot he’d been planning.

As the stick plunged forward Julian quickly saw he hit it too low. The ball went up and made two bounces on the floor before Julian could catch it, avoiding a third bounce. He checked the floor quickly for dents or cracks, but couldn’t see any. Then he looked around to see if someone had spotted his embarrassment.

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Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Adonis Galante
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#, as written by Caille
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Co-written by Rosa aka Leisurelyatwar
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The game had gone smoothly and in Dylan’s favor. When you spent a lot of your nights after the club either in some guy’s bed or out at a bar with them, you got good at playing billiards, because everyone wanted to teach you how. It was never really the life that Dylan had imagined for herself, being a stripper and being married to her husband of all things but it was during her days of having sugar daddies and being an escort that she met up with Damien again.

Damien and Dylan had never really been friends or really all that close in high school. Damien was in the grade ahead of Dylan and they didn’t have class together or have much reason to talk, but they knew of each other and ran in some similar circles, for example when Lauren and Damien dated, Dylan had been around.

The way the two met up again was almost as if they were in a movie. Dylan had been at a gala event with one of her sugar daddies, it was the most profitable night of the year for her, she would get a nice new dress, new heels, expensive jewelry and even a payment for showing up and staying the whole night. It was at this event that she and Damien met through her sugar daddy at the time. They talked that evening a lot and things were natural as if they had known each other all their lives. Dylan kind of knew who he was, but didn’t put it together that night.

Another day the two had happened to run into each other by happenstance. It was the most cliche thing to happen to Dylan, but they bumped into each other and immediately just fell in line. Everything about them was natural and easy like they were meant to be, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have toxic fights like the one they were having right now.

Dylan was mad with Damien, and that’s a big part of why she did not wait for him to attend together, but instead showed up on her own accord. As she got her payout, she stuffed it under her boob for the time being for security.

“I guess technically we didn’t decide on how much to bet - but after that ass whooping I think just outright half my winnings is appropriate.” Adonis glanced downward as he slid the money into Dylan’s hand. “Though, if I’m being honest - I wouldn't mind a consolation prize.”

Dylan smirked as he mentioned a consolation prize and before she knew it she was just responding naturally. “Maybe I will make you strip for me one of these days and you can earn your money back.” They were good at teasing and they enjoyed it, but just as she finished saying that Julian was near them with beers.

Luckily Dylan still had her club soda with lime that was supposed to appear as a gin and tonic. “Thank you Julian, I already have a drink though. Perhaps I will find my husband and give it to him though.” The smile on her face was genuine and she appreciated Julian coming over. “I am doing well, I have had better days. I am excited to party though.” It was a bit of a lie, Dylan didn’t really want to come and be around everyone from high school because heaven forbid if Lauren showed up or something.

The blonde was checking her phone as she sipped on her drink and took note of the many messages Damien sent her and the calls. She groaned a bit and decided the best option was to call him.

As she was about to call him she realized it was too loud where she was, and then Livvy showed up drunk. “Hey girl.” Dylan said with a bit of a laugh. “I’ll take what she’s drinking.” They said as a small joke, but then Adonis was off talking to Livvy.

Dylan leaned over to Julian and pointed to her cell phone. “I’ll be back, just going to make a phone call.” She said and began to head out of the den where the games were and out towards the main living room and towards the front door. Outside wasn’t filled with loud party music and the chatter of people.

As she got out into the open air, she didn’t realize how much the fresh air would help her growing nausea. She first sent a text to Damien asking, ‘Where are you?’

She waited a while before just dialing his number and holding the phone up to her ear to see if he would even answer her.

Adonis pushed himself through where he saw Dylan last. He spotted Evie dancing with Erin but she seemed too distracted to notice him. Probably for the best, Evie could just tell when he was up to no good and while she never actively passed judgment he couldn’t help but think more about the consequences of his actions with her around. He worked along the fringe of the room trying to stay out of sight working towards the exit.

There were a couple of people Adonis vaguely recognized from the Golden Owl smoking by the door. He gave them a nod, pushing past them to look around. Dylan has stepped off to the side, their phone to their ear seemingly preoccupied. Surrounded by the mundane view of the city street she looked especially extraordinary.

“Didn’t expect you to be the one to step away from a good time.” Adonis teased, lighting up his own cigarette and blowing the smoke out the side of his mouth.

After the phone call went to voicemail, she could hear a voice behind her and it startled her. “Jesus, Adonis.” Dylan said with her hand over her heart, eyes wide for a second before coming into a glare. “Damien has been texting me nonstop tonight, I just need to know where he is.” They said passing it off like it was nothing.

“Also, not so much stepping away from a good time, but pausing a good time.” She mused before coming up to him, part of her was about to take the cigarette from his mouth out of old habit, but mentally she stopped herself. “I didn’t realize I had a stalker.” She teased back to him.

Adonis shrugged, his eyes alit with that familiar glint when he was about to make a bad decision. The mention of Damien made Adonis instinctually look around, wondering if Damien had come to retrieve his wife. He was friends with most of the group just as much as Dylan but he had much bigger things to deal with. As far as Adonis knew they were still taking care of Scarface

“Can’t have the boss’s wife out on the streets on her own,” Adonis gestured around them vaguely. “Who knows what kind of sickos lurk in the shadows.”

He wrapped an arm around Dylan’s waist, emboldened by the shadows cast above them keeping them mostly out of sight. Tugging them towards him, he gently placed his cigarette on their lips for Dylan to take a drag. Adonis’ gaze was fixated on Dylan’s pout, smiling as he watched her exhale the smoke. He braced one hand against the wall behind Dylan and positioning himself in front of her, blocking her in. Leaning in as he brushed a finger across the exposed skin of her leg that peeked from the high slit of their dress, he spoke low in their ear.

“Come on, you can play house with the big bad wolf later.” Adonis’ tone was playful, teasing. “I’ve been thinking about what’s under that dress all night.”

“Please, the boss’ wife can handle herself, you know that.” She said with a sly grin on her face, and allowed him to place the cigarette on their lips, so she could take a drag. Temptations were so difficult for Dylan to give into these days and her willpower slowly weaning.

They felt his skin lingering on hers as he trailed his finger up her leg. The touch of his skin was much better than a cue stick used for billiards. “Oh yeah?” She asked with a small laugh before speaking again, “You could just lift it up and see, but not like there’s anything new under there.” Dylan said with a roll of their eyes as she grabbed his hand and slid it up further on her leg and under her dress.

“Dylan,” Adonis's voice dipped, his hand gripping her leg to hike it over his hip as he leaned forward. “It’s because I know what’s under there that I can’t stop thinking about it.”

It was stupid of him to play it so recklessly, he knew that. As time went on Adonis found himself becoming brasher and brasher in his pursuit of Dylan, almost like he wanted to be found out. He damn sure didn’t, he knew it’d be his last day on earth if Damien found out. Regardless, the threat of it all was an aphrodisiac for Adonis. Dylan’s body now pressed against his, any willpower he had been feigning went out the window.

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Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Adonis Galante
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Their lips were only a breath apart, Adonis glancing downward briefly. He enjoyed seeing Dylan’s expressions when he had her this close. There was no attempt at tenderness, Adonis fingers digging into the flesh of their thigh as he pressed Dylan into the wall behind them. Lowering his head, mouth seeking hers, his eyes naturally drifted shut. Only the sensations were guiding him now.

James couldn’t fucking believe his eyes. As he approached the kitchen for a beer, he saw 'Nis the Kid' and Dylan practically getting it on at the front entrance. For far too long, the young falcon has gotten away with kissing Damien's wife, and James has made it very clear that while you're in business, the boss' wife is off-limits. So, what did Adonis think he was? Invisible? As if Damien wouldn't come into the room and see one of his newest workers feeling up his wife? Adonis, James believed, was a fool. A complete moron who never knew when to keep it in his pants.

James stormed over to the pair just in time to grab Adonis by the collar and yank him away from Dylan's breasts, lifting him like a sack of potatoes. He flashed Dylan a 'there's nothing to see here' grin before dragging Adonis by his ear across the grass, where no one could hear them. When they were far enough away, he turned to face his headache and scowled. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” he yelled his hands in the air. “Are you trying to get killed?” Because James knew if that occurred, he'd be the one to pull Adonis out of his shit.

Ripped back by his neck, tossed over James’ shoulder, thrown and then dragged by his ear - Adonis was treated like a proper rag doll. He pulled himself out from James’ grip before shaking himself back upright. Adonis shot Dylan an apologetic look as they headed inside, then flashing James a mischievous smirk and a shrug. James had been the main person looking out for Adonis since he joined the Wolfe Cartel. The last thing he wanted to do was piss the guy off.

“My bad,” Adonis put his hands up, failing at coming across apologetic. He knew the rules, he just enjoyed breaking them. Adonis readjusted his tie, looking around for Damien. “I didn’t even know the boss was coming.

Adonis acknowledged his mistake, but James knew he was lying. It was a never-ending loop with him; he'd apologize, then go back to doing what he wasn't allowed to do. The youngster was tenacious, which made him an invaluable member of the squad. Adonis was extremely convincing, according to James, thanks to the same dumb smile he flashed when he wanted others to feel sorry for him.

James was not convinced, all the more so now that Damien was within striking distance. “You see,” he said, extending a threatening finger into Adonis' face. “That’s your problem. You are not thinking.” James despised shouting and lacked the patience to babysit. He did, however, love the company of Adonis. He was a pain in the neck, but James felt inadvertently transformed into a father figure for him. “So, enlighten me. What was the plan, Nis? What would have happened if the boss had entered rather than me?”. He crossed his arms and locked his gaze on Adonis.

“I hear if you run in a zig zag pattern, it makes you a harder target to hit. Adonis' attempt at humor was inappropriately timed, but he couldn’t resist. He enjoyed getting a laugh out of James. They guy was so serious all the time, though with great reason - you had to be when the stakes are so high.

At the end of the day he knew James was saving his ass. Adonis had bigger things to think about now, he had Flor. As much fun as he had with Dylan, he was playing with fire. He had other choices, but truth be told he always wanted what he couldn’t have - or shouldn’t have.

“Look,” Adonis said earnestly, scratching the back of his neck as he spoke. “I was being stupid - I’m sorry. Won’t happen again.”

He raised his hands as if to surrender, his face naturally shifting into a pleading expression. Adonis had been around so many manipulators in his life he didn’t even realize when he was exhibiting manipulative behavior. It was so innate for him, easily able to use his boyish charm to evoke sympathy as needed. However any softness he showed was immediately hardened as his gaze drifted over James’ shoulder. A familiar silhouette and even more familiar pair of legs catching his eye.

“You got to be fucking kidding me.” Adonis said aloud, more to himself than James. He couldn’t believe she’d come, he’d been assured she wasn’t invited. She must’ve known he’d be there, that he’d want to speak with her. He lowered his hand, hands coiling into fists at his side.

When James observed a change in Adonis' face, he understood it wasn't aimed at him, but rather at something or someone behind him. When James looked back, he saw a young lady walking over the front walkway and inside the home. He had no idea who she was, but he had seen an impact she had on Adonis. “Who is she?” James said as he spun around to face him.

It took a moment for Adonis to process James’ question, taking every bit of will power not to run over and grab Lauren, throw her back into her car and tell her to drive the fuck away. He knew the moment he touched her however she’d surely dramatize it to turn it into assault. She had no business being here. His jaw clenched, his words coming out strained.

“That’s the bitch who signed over the rights of my daughter.” Adonis exhaled roughly, turning around to walk a few paces before turning back, repeating the loop a couple times trying to calm himself. He wanted to punch something, his fingers twitching. Pointing angrily to the door she had disappeared behind, Adonis screamed after her. “Fucking Lauren Clark!”

The tension in the night air was palpable for James, particularly when he saw Adonis furiously walking in circles to calm himself. According to Adonis, the woman they had just seen at the party was the reason he had lost his daughter the first time. And it was clear that she had not been invited to the party. That was enough for James to hate her even if he didn't know who she was.

Then Adonis yelled her name at the top of his lungs, shocking James, and a few heads turned to stare at them outside. To soothe Adonis, James placed his hands on his shoulders. “Shh, you're creating a scene,” he said quietly. “Why don't you go get some fresh air, and I'll keep an eye on her?”

Adonis looked back at James who stood in front of him, a hand on either shoulder. He wanted to keep pacing but having James hold him in place helped his heart rate begin to calm. Adonis would deal with Lauren but James was right, he needed to cool off first. He nodded, the gratitude evident in his expression. Turning on the heel of his foot, Adonis exhaled roughly as he ran a hand through his hair. He gripped at the roots as he shook his head, the sensation alleviating the pressure that was starting to push against his temples.

He tapped out a cigarette from his pack, talking a lap around the block before returning to the party. Adonis was still disheveled from having been roughed around by James, his white shirt dirtied from being thrown across the lawn and tie askew. He scratched at his hair, certain it was out of place but hoping the natural curl would help it fall back into place. The room was just as full as when he left but somehow it felt like there was a little less life in the room. He looked around for Lauren, spotting Evie on the balcony and beelining her way.

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Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Adonis Galante
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There was an uncomfortable silence, people drifting to one another and speaking in hushed tones. Adonis looked around trying to spot Lauren, instead spotting Evie through the glass doors, on the balcony.Panic coursing through him, he was willing that by some miracle Evie had been able to avoid Lauren but as he moved closer he could tell he was too late. She was clutching the railing as if it was a lifeline, others staring at her.

“What are you looking at?” Adonis barked at them as he slid the door to the balcony wide open, gesturing for them to move on as he stepped in front of Evie. Once they moved into the living room, Adonis positioned himself between Evie and the pane behind them making sure other’s could no longer stare at her.

He was hesitant to touch her in case that would only upset her further, lowering his voice to coach gently. “Just take deep breaths, I’m right here . . . do you want me to go get water?

The sound of a raised voice almost made Evie flinch, until she realised who it was. She relaxed ever so slightly, but still didn’t move until she was more sure that it was just her and Adonis on the balcony. Adonis moved towards her, but didn’t touch her, just talking slowly and calmly. She took a deep breath and exhaled. At the question of whether or not she wanted water, she just shook her head. She thought she’d recovered somewhat; and then she looked at Adonis, and felt like she was going to drown again.

“Am I a bad person?” She asked, her voice small and strangled. “Is this all in my head? Have I been making this up?” Most of the time, she had the power to battle and win against those thoughts, but a few words from Lauren, and everything had crumbled beneath her. If Lauren could tear her down that easily, was she really doing as well as the thought she was?

“What?” Adonis was thrown off by her question, never in any universe could he fathom Evie ever being described as a bad person. “This isn’t you talking.”

He gently placed his hands on either one of her shoulders turning Evie to face him. “Bad people don’t care if they’re making shit up, bad people don’t help others, bad people don’t get help to get better.”

The physical contact was enough to ground Evie somewhat, helping her snap out of the swirling pit of dark thoughts and back into reality. She was here, she was okay, Lauren was the horrible person. There were still those voices in her head that screamed at her that she was wrong, but they weren’t as overwhelming now. She nodded at Adonis’ words, focusing on them instead, repeating them to herself in her head. She took a deep breath, focusing on that instead, and managed a smile.

“You’re right. I’m okay,” she said. Then she sighed, running a hand through her hair. “I just… I fucking hate how she can still get in my head and just… just send me back to that sad, scared person I was. I was actually managing to stand up to her, and she knew what to say to send me crashing down,” she said.

Adonis frowned, doing his best not to start calling Lauren every name in the book. As cathartic as that would be for him, he knew it wouldn’t do Evie much good. He wasn’t really sure what he was supposed to do or say at that moment, his mind preoccupied with all the new ways he’d learned to break someone’s fingers. Lauren might be untouchable to him, but a guy could dream.

“Hey - standing up for yourself was no small feat. She knows your buttons, it’s not your fault that she pushes them.” Adonis squeezed Evie’s shoulders reassuringly before pulling her into a hug. “You do realize I have to kill her now, though - right?”

Adonis’ reassurance that standing up to herself made her smile, and she returned the hug eagerly. His comment about having to kill Lauren made him laugh. “I’ll be your alibi. You were definitely with me all evening, didn’t leave my sight for a moment,” she said. She pulled away from him, looking at him for a few moments. She knew him as well as she knew her own family, and she could tell there was something else on his mind.

“But in all seriousness… you better stay out of trouble, you hear me?” She warned, her tone light but firm. “I haven’t seen most of these people in years, I don’t want to have to go around apologising for whatever mischief you get up to tonight, or go pulling you out of fights.” Her addition was mostly a joke, but at the same time, she would have honestly been surprised if they managed to all make it home this evening without somebody punching somebody else. And if she was being honest, her money was on Adonis somehow being involved.

Even Adonis was certain he’d be the one wrapped up in whatever shitshow ended up playing out tonight. Like a dog who covered their face with their paw when their human took a tone, Adonis instinctually covered his face to mask his mischievous grin. Luckily Evie hadn’t witnessed him having been dragged across the lawn once tonight already, and that was before Lauren showed her face.

“I’ll be on my best behavior,” Adonis promised, knowing it wasn’t much. He bent his arm upwards, signaling three fingers up. “Scout’s Honor.”

He glanced back inside, seeing if he could spot Lauren inside the living room or den. Wherever she was, she was out of sight. Of course Adonis knew he shouldn’t rock the boat with her, she had no business here. Soren and Erin might have a reputation to protect that kept them from dragging her ass out of here, but Adonis’ impulse control wasn’t nearly as developed as theirs. If he didn’t take care of it, Lauren was sure to ruin the night all by herself. She did always manage to find a way to make it all about her.

“I still have to talk to her though.” Adonis forewarned Evie. He had the urge to tell her everything in that moment - that Lauren was Flor’s mother. Not that he thought Evie had a hard time understanding his hatred for Lauren, he just felt like he had no answers to give anyone, only a bomb to drop. It felt strange keeping anything from Evie, they had always been one another’s person no matter how much Lauren tried to drive a wedge between them. Evie already had so much to deal with around Lauren though, Adonis didn’t want to add one more thing.

Evie arched an eyebrow into the familiar look of disdain that Adonis was oh so familiar with as he swore his scout’s honour. They both knew that he’d never been a scout, and in fact, he was about as far from a Boy Scout as you could get, and always had been. She sighed as he said that he needed to talk to her. God only knows what he wanted to talk to her about. She wondered if something was up with Flor; and then her stomach twisted as she remembered that she wasn’t supposed to know about that. As one of Lauren’s closest “friends”, she had at least been privileged enough to get to hear a few of Lauren’s secrets. Which also meant that she knew more about her friends than most of them thought she did. Flor was the only thing that Lauren had actually sworn her to secrecy about, because there was legal stuff involved. But the longer it went on, the worse Evie felt about knowing.

As Adonis opened his mouth to speak again, the glass door beside him slid open. He turned with an annoyed expression already prepared to tell some drunk asshole to fuck off. Looking back was that familiar blue stare. Adonis felt a twist in his gut, immediately recognizing the panic in Livvy’s eyes. It was the same one she would have before making a bad decision, back when she would run around with Dean and Gabriella. It seemed Julian hadn’t been able to play babysitter for long - though it didn’t seem like Livvy needed a babysitter. She looked like she needed a distraction.

"Sorry to interrupt." Livvy mumbled, quickly shutting the door before Adonis could protest and immediately darting in the opposite direction. Adonis’ voice faltered, his shoulders slumping. He didn’t know why he kept playing these games. Livvy would be better off if he stopped letting the dream of what they could be fade away. Obviously he wasn’t going to change and she deserved better.

“You know, I’m starting to think my actions have consequences.” Adonis scratched the back of his neck, pretending to look out onto the city to avoid whatever look Evie was giving him now.

In the space of half a second, she decided that she was going to tell Adonis what she knew. She couldn’t keep it from him any more, and anyway, she didn’t care what Lauren thought any more. “Adonis, listen-” she started, but then the balcony door opened, and she turned to look. Livvy stood there, her expression unidentifiable but still one of someone troubled. She apologised and left again, and it seemed like Adonis crumbled a little. Evie sighed, shaking her head a little. Now wasn’t the time to go making big revelations.

“They do,” she said, as Adonis mused about consequences. He was avoiding her gaze, which gave her time to switch her expression to a suitably disapproving one. “I thought you would have figured that out by now, but clearly not,” she teased, before looking back in towards the party. Livvy had disappeared into the crowd. “You should talk to her. And you should prioritise that over what the hell you need to say to Lauren, because Livvy deserves it, while Lauren does not,”
she advised.

“I don’t have anything new to say to her, Evie.” Adonis’ tone was pleading but firm, like he had told himself the same thing over and over as a reminder. “Besides - right now, Flor is my only priority.”

The words were true but they still stung. It felt like an admission of defeat. Lauren wanted to ruin his life and that’s what she’d done, given his parents the strings to pull to make him their puppet again. If he could just talk to her, maybe he could find out there was something she wanted more than what his parents were already giving her. Though Adonis knew he didn’t have pockets deep enough to match his parent’s checks, there had to be something. Maybe once he had Flor again, Adonis could finally be the guy that goes after Livvy.

“You’re one to talk anyways, spending your time out here with a dumb ass when you could be slow dancing with the hot blonde in the suit.” He wrapped an arm across Evie’s shoulders, lips twisted in a way that showed he was suppressing a smirk.

Evie knew when to drop a subject, and Adonis’ tone told her that this was time to drop the discussion of Livvy. She nodded as he said that he had nothing to say, and that Flor had to be his priority. She respected that, at least, and she agreed with him. She wanted to see everyone getting along, but his daughter always had to come first.

At his comment about how she could be dancing with a hot blonde, she jabbed an elbow into his ribs. “I have absolutely no idea what you mean,” she said, attempting to keep a straight face but her scarlet cheeks giving her away. “I’m just out here making sure you don’t get in any more trouble. You better appreciate my sacrifice, you know that?” She asked. She twisted to look Adonis properly in the face.

“You going to be okay?” She asked. “Having to talk to Satan herself is never an easy prospect.”

“Evie, please - my parents have been training me for this moment all my life.” Adonis gave an incredulous look, sliding the door open to the main room behind them and gesturing for Evie to enter. “You let me worry about that she-devil. You just enjoy the rest of your night.”

Evie laughed as Adonis said that this was what he’d been trained for, before stepping into the main room again. She raised an eyebrow as he told her to enjoy the rest of the night. “With her lurking in the shadows, it might be hard. But I’ll try. I’ll try, just for you,” she said, before blowing him a kiss and making her way back into the party.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Declan Sun Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo Character Portrait: Jeremy Williams
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Lauren Clark
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Chaos | Attire | hex: #540000
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Olivia Eriksen
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Starving Artist | Attire | hex:#8B8000
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It was a good thing that Livvy had kicked her heels off when she had arrived. Otherwise, she might’ve tripped over her own feet. She wasn’t drunk but she definitely wasn’t sober anymore. I took a lot to get her to the slur-your-words-and-lose-all-sense phase, but she was definitely in the unsteady-flushed-cheeks-overly-confident phase She padded out of the den, walking tall with her shoulders back and head high. Lauren was a predator, any sign of weakness would have her pouncing. If Livvy was going to pull this off, she couldn’t be a lamb. She had to be a wolf.

As she made her way towards Lauren, she spotted Adonis coming in from the front of the house. His clothes were more ruffled than when he had been in the den with her. Jumping to conclusions, she narrowed her eyes, flipped her blonde hair over a shoulder, and pretended she didn’t see him. Half of it was an act in case Lauren was watching. The other half… she rubbed at her chest absently.

She strode up to Lauren and ran a finger up her arm. ”Well, Well,” Livvy purred, ”Miss Lauren Clark. I would ask what brings you here, but I think it’s safe to assume the lemming invited you.” Her blue eyes snapped to Camilla a moment before returning to Lauren. She gave a sultry smile. ”I take it not much has changed. Still like causing chaos?”

Lauren was pleased to see Livvy making her way over to her. She’d missed seeing Livvy around; another one of her beloved toys, even though she hadn’t played with her quite as much as some of the others. And, well, it seemed like Livvy hadn’t changed much, if at all. Her demeanor as she made her way up to Lauren, followed by her opening gesture, confirmed that one thing had at least hadn’t changed. Which, of course, meant that Lauren could play her games.

She smiled, laughing a little at Livvy’s comment about Camilla. “Livvy, darling, don’t be so mean,” she said, in a tone that indicated that she actually loved Livvy being so mean. At her question about whether or not she was still causing chaos, she feigned shock and hurt. “I am shocked at that accusation,” she said, before laughing. “Of course I do. That’s why I’m here,” she said. “So come on, tell me, sweetheart, tell me everything that’s going on with you. I want to know all of the gossip and the scandal of your life.”

Livvy shrugged her pale shoulders. ”Not much to tell, I’m afraid. Just been traveling the country.” She feigned a sigh of disappointment. ”Sadly high school was the most exciting time of my life.” She linked arms with her, ignoring Camilla altogether, all a part of the act--though she still wasn’t a fan of Camilla after her break up with Simon. ”What about you?” She cooed, ”What has the great Lauren Clark been doing in her spare time since the whirlwind of high school?”

She started to tug her into a walk, heading in the direction of the hallway.

Lauren wasn’t sure that she believed Livvy’s act of disappointment, but she played along anyway. She let Livvy link her arm, even resting a hand on Livvy’s arm as she did so. She had to hold back a laugh as Livvy almost began to drag her towards the hall, out of sight of everyone else. She was curious to see how she was going to play it, though, and so Lauren let her.

“Oh, you know. Working. Mom and Dad gave me a job in marketing. It’s mundane from time to time, and I work with some of the dumbest and most boring people I have ever met, but they do what I tell them, and the money isn’t bad either. And of course, I do a little bit of influencing on the side. I was posting all of those pictures anyway, so why not get paid for including one teensy little brand in them?” She asked with a laugh. “I should get you on my Instagram. Everyone would fall in love with you right away,” she said, raising an eyebrow at Livvy.

"I'll definitely think about it", She replied, and it wasn’t a lie. It’s the kind of exposure people kill for. However, knowing who Lauren was, she was sure it was too good to be true.”It would be a great opportunity.”

She stopped at the bar, plucking a bottle of rose and pouring them each a glass. She tucked the bottle beneath her arm and held a glass out to Lauren. ”Why don’t you tell me more about it?” She offered, leading them back towards the hallway. ”Or, you could share some gossip with me. Sadly, my travels keep me fairly isolated so I don’t hear much.” Or not anything I’d share with you, she thought. For a moment, she thought about sharing Adonis’s attraction to Dylan but ultimately decided against it. He might’ve deserved some trouble, but getting Lauren involved was asking for catastrophe and she could never do that to him.

”Although, She paused, taking a sip of her wine. ”The best I’ve got is that apparently Dean and Jade are a thing!” She tried to sound surprised and a little disappointed. He was her hot ex after all. And… she did miss him every now and then. She still followed him on social media, but they didn’t talk often. At least his relationship with Jade was less scandalous but just as juicy of a story.

Lauren accepted the glass of rose and took a small sip from it. She loved a party as much as the next person and was no stranger to getting wasted; but she felt that, at least for this one, it was probably better to stay sober and in control. She raised an eyebrow at Livvy’s request for gossip. It seemed like the girl’s motives were somewhat mixed here, or else she was trying to play into everything she knew that Lauren enjoyed in the hope of impressing her. Lauren decided to give Livvy the benefit of the doubt and play along.

As Livvy mentioned that she had gossip, Lauren gasped, before grinning in vicious delight and leaning in. Her act almost shattered as Livvy told her what it was, having to resist the temptation to laugh. “Oh, I’m sure that won’t end badly at all,” she said, the only outward indication of her reaction as she took another sip of her wine. “I give them a month,” she said.

“So, you’ve given me some good gossip. Let me see if I can share anything… do you want to know something about someone we went to school with… or about someone here at the party?” She asked, her grin sharp with the realization that she could cause a little bit of chaos here, with either a well-placed truth or an even better-placed lie.

Livvy tipped her head back in a laugh. ”I’ll bet $20 it’ll be two weeks.” She took another sip of her wine. She hummed in thought and replied, with a giggle, ”From the looks of it, I don’t think those are as different as one would think.” She nibbled a little at the tip of her tongue as she thought. There were two things influencing her decision: the first--and her original reason for asking--was to see what Lauren knew compared to the things she knew and the second was that she was curious about the people she used to go to school with.

However… if she allowed herself to open that door, she could potentially find out something about someone she wasn’t supposed to know. So, in the end, she chose to play it safe. ”About someone here at the party,” she replied. There were plenty of people here who hadn't gone to school with them with that the odds were in her favor. Unless Lauren knew just where to strike.

Lauren had known that Livvy wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to find out some gossip about the people they’d gone to school with. And now, of course, she needed to decide what exactly she wanted to spill. She could begin her campaign to ruin Soren’s life here and now; but from memory, Soren and Livvy had only ever been passing friends, so she wasn’t quite sure that that would have enough of an effect. Lauren took a moment to evaluate the situation. As far as she was concerned, she had three options for the highest amount of drama.

Number one. Erin. Lauren was aware of their past together and got the impression that there was still some unfinished business there. Some of Erin’s secrets could completely change Livvy’s impression of her, and might just touch a sore spot.

Number two. Evie. Would Livvy sink to Lauren’s level and use that information against Evie though, to win back Erin? Probably not, but she loved the idea of dangling that temptation in front of Livvy.

Number three. Adonis. Adonis and Livvy had some strange little dynamic going for them. Admittedly, Lauren didn’t know the details of what was going on, but she knew that she could cause some true mayhem there. And so she took a long sip of her wine and rifled through her mental list of secrets, looking for the juiciest of them all.

“Well. I heard that Adonis has gotten himself into some trouble. Working with some… dangerous people, on what is very definitely the wrong side of the law, if you catch my drift,” she said, raising an eyebrow suggestively and taking a step closer to Livvy, lowering her voice to a low murmur.

That wasn't what Livvy was expecting. "Adonis?" She frowned. Her mask, the entire act, shattered. She couldn’t pretend she didn’t care. Not if it was about Erin, Julian, or Simon. Not when it was about Adonis.

Not your business, she thought to herself. She led them down the hall, testing doorknobs as she went. If they were going to talk about this, they needed a more private space. Besides, that was her original plan anyway. She wondered if it had to do with Dylan. She knew the young woman was married now, though, she had to admit, she didn’t know to whom. Dylan didn’t really run in her circle in high school so she didn’t know much about her now. Besides, what did it matter who her friend slept with anyway?

She knew she had just been thinking he deserved some trouble, but the way Lauren was describing it… it was more trouble than she would’ve liked. The words were out of her mouth before she could think. ”What kind of trouble?”

The words had the desired effect, as Livvy’s cute little act shattered before Lauren’s eyes, and Lauren smiled, raising her glass to her lips as she did so. But if Livvy’s mask was shattered, that only made her intentions even clearer as she began trying doors. It was as they reached the last one that Livvy stopped again, to ask her what kind of trouble. “Well,” Lauren started, before reaching past Livvy and opening the door. This one opened. Lauren grabbed Livvy’s free hand and pulled her into the room, closing it behind them. By the looks of it, it was Erin’s bedroom. Lauren sat down on the bed, pulling Livvy along to sit beside her.

[color=#540000]“I don’t know the *exact* details,”
she said. “But I heard that he’s involved with some very dangerous people. Involving drugs, and possibly weapons,” she said, managing to feign some level of horror at it as if she also didn’t have her ties to some of the people involved. “God only knows what kind of trouble he’s gotten himself into now.”

Livvy knew she was in deep shit as Lauren dragged her into the final room. She was too intoxicated and curious to realize just what she was doing. Being here often enough she knew who's room it was. Erin. They were going into Erin's room.

She wanted to backpedal, to pull Lauren from the room before she found anything that would cause more trouble for her friend. More trouble than apparently what she was already causing just by walking this path.

It was too late. She could tell by the hungry look in Lauren's eye. She opened the wrong door and found herself tumbling into trouble. The room spun as Lauren whirled her around to sit beside her on the bed. Erin's bed.

This was a mistake, She thought. She couldn't handle the girl in high school. What made her think she could handle things now? Before she could find a way out of the situation, Lauren was spilling Adonis's secrets.

And it was worse than she feared. She squeezed her eyes shut a moment. What did you get yourself into, Nis? She thought. She took a deep breath and pushed it all down, down, down. She knew Lauren likely saw through her act now, but she had to change the subject. If she was sharing this with Livvy who else knew?

Then, she realized, she should stop acting. "Well that's not what I was expecting," she said with an awkward chuckle. "That's a lot to process." She waved a hand dismissively, tucking her hair behind her ear. "But I can always process later."

She downed the rest of the wine and placed it on a nearby surface. When she looked back at Lauren, the room shifted with her. She gave a startled laugh. "Whoops. Too much."

Then she reached up to trace Lauren's cheekbone and said, "I just realized. I've never drawn you before." She felt herself shift into artist mode, noticing the many colors that make up a person. She curled a lock of Lauren's hair around her finger. And said something she knew she'd likely regret later. "You're beautiful."

Lauren smiled with satisfaction that her words had had the intended effect as Livvy attempted to recover from the news, but managed to make it look something like a sympathetic smile instead. As Livvy downed the rest of her glass of wine, Lauren just took a delicate sip from hers, putting her still mostly full glass down beside Livvy’s empty one.

Livvy being that drunk made it so much easier. She finally had the guts to actually reach out to Lauren, revealing the real intentions she’d had all along. Lauren played along, leaning in towards Livvy a little.

“I know,” she said as Livvy said that she’d never drawn her. “You know, I’ve always hoped you’d ask. Any excuse to be around you,” she said softly. At Livvy’s compliment, Lauren just smiled, reaching out to tuck some of Livvy’s hair behind her ear, her hand lingering by Livvy’s face a little longer than it needed to.

Livvy’s blue eyes widened with surprise. She searched Lauren’s eyes for a lie, but couldn’t see through the alcohol-induced fog in her brain. Instead, she saw the light reflecting off Lauren’s irises, painting them gold. She admired the flawlessness of her skin, without a scar, mark, or pore. She studied the lighter strands among the dark of her hair. Then found herself leaning forward, investigating the red of her lips.

Her heart hammered in her chest. Her cheek was warm where Lauren’s hand lingered a little too long. Was this actually happening? Or was she passed out on the couch imagining the whole thing? Was she actually about to cross Lauren Clark off her high school “Fuck” list. The “coolest girl” in school?

She was close enough now that their noses were touching. She could smell the wine on Lauren’s breath, light and lingering. She released the strand of Lauren’s hair and lifted it until it rested against the warm curve of her neck. She swept a thumb across Lauren’s jawline. ”I’ve been wanting to ask since high school.” She finally said. Then, when she couldn’t take the tension anymore, she closed the distance between them, brushing her lips softly against Lauren’s.

Lauren smiled, right up until the moment that Livvy leaned in and pressed her lips against Lauren’s. Lauren let the kiss linger for a second or two, before she pulled away, her smile becoming wicked. “Oh, that’s adorable,” she said, her tone dripping in venom. “Did you really think that I would want you? Someone as… plain as you? Your stepfather may have had a point, you know. Who could want someone so plain?” She asked, cruelly tracing a finger along Livvy’s face.

It was at that point that her phone buzzed, and she very deliberately swiveled away from Livvy to pick up her bag and fish out her phone. And then she smiled, a smile that said whoever was on the other side of the text was far more interesting than Livvy. She kept her attention on the phone as she replied to the text, an unspoken dismissal.

Livvy blinked. First in confusion. And then in disbelief. She sat back, tilting a little further than she meant to. ”You literally said-” and then she stopped. Lauren had never actually said ”I want you”. She had only said she had been waiting for her to ask.

No one would want you,” her stepfather’s voice murmured in her mind. ”No one, but me.” And then she could feel him. Where Lauren’s hands had been. Where her exposed skin was at her waist.

She was going to be sick.

She rose and hurried from the room. There was a line for the bathroom, of course. Where else? The balcony. Air. Air would help.

She padded through the kitchen, not noticing anyone she passed, though she heard Dean’s distinct tenor. She could see the light on the ground though she wasn’t looking up. At least, not until she opened the door to step out… and Evie and Adonis were standing there. He looked like he was ready to unleash hell on her at first. She knew he hadn’t known it was her. Adonis has gotten himself into some trouble. Lauren’s voice purred.

”Sorry to interrupt” She found herself mumbling before she quickly shut the doors, whirling around and heading back in the direction she came. She ran her fingers through her long hair repeatedly. No doubt making it look wilder. No air. That only left… distraction. And she knew just who would be able to help. She stepped back towards the kitchen area in search of Dean.




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Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes
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Adonis waited on the balcony for a moment after Evie left to smoke a cigarette, doing his best to calm himself. He pulled up his camera roll, looking at photos of Flor he’d taken recently. She had learned to walk and hadn’t stopped moving since. His parents had to hire two nannies to overcompensate for their negligence. He was able to visit, take her to the park or on a walk but they only allowed him to play the role of father on his terms. Doing things his way has gotten him into this situation. The consequences of his action no longer just affected him. He had to hold it together, for Flor.

He put out his cigarette on the ashtray out on the balcony, others already beginning to filter back out now that he wasn’t chasing everyone off. Already his hands were shaking, Adonis never could hide his emotions. Detouring to the kitchen, he poured himself a tall drink downing the liquor all in one gulp. Drinking wasn’t the best choice to lend to self control, but he hoped to ride that sweet spot before it fully hit him to be able to hold his temper with Lauren.

Wherever she was, Lauren was doing a good job hiding from him. He worked around the flat a couple times, it wasn’t that big so he wasn’t sure how she could be hiding so well. Supposing she must’ve been in the bathroom or something, Adonis doubled back to the hallway. As if he manifested her she stepped out from Erin’s room with all too smug of a smile.

Adonis exhaled roughly, his hands already balling into fists. He shook the tension off to the best of his ability, moving towards Lauren. She saw him before he reached her, already her expression twisting in that familiar expression. Adonis never had impulse control, the perfect guinea pig for her manipulations.

“Nis,” She purred as he approached her, giving him a once over. “I like the look, the new work uniform suits you.”

“Glad you like it,” Adonis bit the inside of his cheek, forcing a smile.

Of course Lauren knew he was working for the cartel. Adjusting his tie, he leaned against the wall and turned to face Lauren. He knew she just wanted a reaction. Years of managing his parents, Adonis found the trick with narcissists was to not give them that. He wasn’t really sure what more Lauren could want from him, or anyone here - except maybe attention, and control.

“I was hoping you’d show.” Adonis admitted, lowering his voice an octave as he stepped in towards her.

“Oh?” Lauren raised a brow towards him, feigning ignorance. “I didn’t think you’d be so happy to see me, not after the last time you came over.”

Escalation, that’s what it always was with her - with his parents. You could never win a game of chicken, sure to end in mutual destruction before any chance of victory. Adonis shook his head, laughing under his breath. He had to keep his cool.

“Yeah - about that.” He swallowed hard. “I’m sorry. I lost it and honestly I don’t want things to be like that between us.”

Lauren kept her eyebrow raised as Adonis apologised for how things had gone the last time. “Oh, really?” She asked. “Is that the only reason you were looking for me? A half-hearted apology? Or did you actually want something?”

“Come on, don’t be like that.” Adonis pleaded, reaching out for one of Lauren’s hands. “I messed up, I know I did. I just -”

Adonis paused, catching his breath. If he acted out like he did last time he showed up at Lauren’s house, he’d never get custody of Flor. Especially if his parents got wind of it. Showing up to the mother of your child’s house screaming and pounding the door wasn’t a good look for anyone. He was genuinely sorry - though more because he wanted to be better for Flor than any sympathy he might have had for Lauren.

“Look - I know you had your reasons for what you did.” He reasoned, doing his best to appear empathetic. “I’m not saying you or I would do any better, but - my parents?”

Lauren very deliberately pulled her hand away from Adonis and folded her arms so he couldn’t repeat the gesture. He was trying so hard to stay calm, and it was adorable, really. But that just made the challenge of getting him mad all the more tempting.

“Who the hell else was I supposed to hand her over to?” She asked. “My parents? Who would just pay nannies to look after her so they never have to deal with her, because she’s a shame on their reputation? What other options did I have? Should I have given her to Nate and Robyn, let them play happy families? Because that wouldn’t have ended well, would it? Who else did I have after that? Strangers? Would you have preferred that?” She asked, her tone equal parts hurt and defensive. Truth be told, she had felt lost about what she was supposed to do with the baby. She’d taken a gamble by going to Adonis’ parents; and oh, it had worked out so perfectly for her.

As angry as he was with Lauren, Adonis empathized. He wouldn’t have known what to do either, and he doubted he would have been able to make a better decision himself. Honestly he didn’t know what was the best choice but that was the point, he never got the chance to even think about it let alone have a say. He felt the clench of guilt in his chest. If he could have been there for Lauren, for Flor - he would have, but she took that choice from him.

“Maybe you could have talked to me - we could have figured something out together.” He reasoned, his anger fading to frustration. “My parents took advantage of you Lauren, they used you and now they’re using Flor.”

Lauren had to hold back a laugh as Adonis said that he could have talked to him. That had certainly never been an option. Lauren hadn’t wanted to be tied to Adonis. That was the whole reason she’d handed the kid over in the first place. No attachments, and a clean slate for her. Getting him involved would have made the situation unnecessarily difficult.

She shrugged as Adonis said that they were using Flor. “What am I supposed to do about that? I signed over all my rights. I legally have no connection to her. It’s not like I can just go back and say, ‘sorry, changed my mind,’ Adonis. Not to mention, they made it explicitly clear that I am no contact with her. I can’t do anything.” Not to mention, going back on their agreement would involve having to pay back all of the money they’d given her, and that wasn’t an option for her right now.

“You can tell the court you were coerced.” Adonis said a bit too quickly, the request has been sitting at the tip of his tongue. “You could tell them you lied when you said you didn’t know who the father was.”

His tone was bordering near desperation. The details of his parent’s agreement with Lauren were still fuzzy, whatever terms his parents had set in place with Lauren was beyond Adonis. He had figured there had been at least some conditions, though to which extent was unclear. Adonis pulled out his phone, opening his camera roll to a picture of Flor to show Lauren.

“I’m begging you, Lauren. Please - don’t do it for me, I’m a piece of shit. I know that.” He pleaded. “Do it for her, she doesn’t deserve this shit.”

Of course he’d come to her with a plan, an answer already prepared. Lauren just shook her head a little and shrugged. She was about to respond, when he shoved his phone towards her, showing her a photo of the toddler. Lauren hadn’t seen Flor since she’d handed her over, and she didn’t want to see her right now. She pushed Adonis’ hand aside.

“And what? Let you have custody? Do you really think the court would even let you have custody? You’re involved in the fucking mafia, Adonis. Does she really deserve that shit?” She hissed. “I’m not getting myself in trouble with the courts by admitting that I lied, and I’m certainly not pissing off your parents, just so you can play happy families with your daughter.”

Adonis’ jaw tensed, Lauren obviously striking a nerve. He placed his hand against the wall beside Lauren, his eyes darkening as he leaned in. His words came out through gritted teeth, strained. “I would be real fucking careful what my next words were if I were you, Lauren.”

Obviously there was no reasoning with Lauren, there never was. There was only one thing Lauren understood and that was self-interest. Any sympathy he might have had for her dissolved. If she was insistent that he was the bad guy, fine - he’d be that bad guy. He was tired of playing nice anyways.

Adonis leaned in, lowering his voice to a near growl in Lauren’s ear. “There is no limit to what I would do for that little girl, Lauren. So if I were you I would start thinking less about whatever court ramification, and more about what happens to people who piss off people in the mafia.”

Lauren didn’t scare easily. And she certainly didn’t show it when she was. When Adonis leaned in, she didn’t let herself respond, just stayed standing up straight, staring at a spot somewhere behind them, and keeping an indifferent expression on her face. It was only when Adonis made his threat that she actually responded. She grasped the lapels of his jacket, taking a step even closer.

“What you need to remember is that me and your boss have a history of our own. Remember who the fuck you’re playing games with before you show all your cards,” she whispered, before patting his cheek and ducking out from under his arm, choosing to saunter away from him without a second glance.

Shifting as Lauren maneuvered around him, by the time he rounded towards Lauren she had already put a few bodies between them. He opened his mouth to swear, catching himself before the words escaped his lips instead letting out a sound of frustration. Others in the hall gave his a sideways glare, Adonis turning his backs to them as he rubbed a hand over his face trying to maintain his composure.

It didn’t matter who Lauren had or hadn’t fucked, or who she thought she may or may not had wrapped around her finger. Adonis would make sure Lauren would fix her fuck up, or pay the price. His hands balled into fists once again, Adonis rooted in place willing himself not to go after Lauren. He looked back to where he saw her last, now seeing Camilla near the end of the hall.

He met her gaze with undeserved ire, his mind still on Lauren. When he realized this misdirection expression of anger, he softened. Shaking his head, Adonis looked back to Camilla. There were still traces of his anger, but now he looked more sad than anything. Unsure how much Camilla had witnessed between him and Lauren, he wasn’t sure what her impression of the situation would be. Afraid to approach her should she be wary of him, he leaned back against the wall behind him waiting for her reaction.

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Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes
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!!CW!! There are heavy sexual themes and drug use in this post.
Anything related to plot will be later referred to in less detail
so if these subjects bother you please allow yourself to skip to next post. x

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Camilla only caught the tail end of the conversation, well, more of catching the comment from Lauren to Adonis. Something about her knowing his boss and a vague threat, though knowing Lauren, no matter how vague the threat was, it was very much still something to be worried about. Cam also caught Adonis’ glare before he softened his look, which she returned with a smirk, and slowly walked over to him. Adonis ran a hand through his hair, his nostrils flaring. He wanted to keep his cool but it was difficult. The room seemed to get louder making it harder to think straight.

“You know, you do pull off the sexy scowl look pretty well Nis.” Stopping closely in front of him. “A good friend would probably ask if you’re okay after talking to someone like that. But I feel like I know the answer.”

Glancing back at the direction Lauren went before turning back and staring at Adonis, Camilla flashed a smile. Suddenly sneezing once then rubbing her nose, checking her hand to make sure her nose wasn’t bleeding. Adonis shook his head at Camilla’s observation, both of them looking off for a moment.

It felt like Lauren was still there, her presence haunting. He turned back to Camilla as she checked her hand after touching her nose, seeming to look for something. Adonis had been around drugs enough to know what that meant, not that he cared. He didn’t use as much as he once did but Adonis still did a line or popped a pill from time to time. If he let on that he knew she was holding, he didn’t linger.

“I can’t fucking deal with her right now,” Adonis said, referring to Lauren as he stuffed his hands in his pockets. Camilla rolled her eyes, more so in agreement with him than directed at him. “I’m just going to end up starting some shit - I should just leave before I get the cops called on us.”

“Oh come on Adonis. Don’t let her get in your head.” She said, then having an idea. She took another step forward and slowly pulled one of his hands out of his pockets and held it with both of her hands for a moment.

“Don’t leave the party - you’re here to have fun. Come on, we can get some privacy and talk.” Cam continued, pulling Adonis down the hallway. She was already starting to feel her high and wanted to do something a bit more fun than talking and taking a sip of alcohol.

Adonis feigned reluctance, letting Camilla lead him. She tried the handle on the first door she saw and let out a sigh of relief as it opened up and quickly pulled Adonis in. Camilla let go of his arm as they entered, assuming he would close the door. Cam took a moment to look around the room, quickly realizing it was Erin’s before clearing some stuff off of the top of the dresser and pulling the bag out of her purse from earlier.

“You know, I usually wait for the high to hit me harder and go down before hitting again, but if you want a big girl to hold your hand, I can.” She teased Adonis with a wink, making two lines and offering one to him.

He clicked the lock to the door behind him, Camilla already serving up two neat little rows of powder for them. It probably wasn’t wise for him to do any drugs tonight, but any liquor that had been in his system was already burnt up from the adrenaline of fighting off James and confronting Lauren. He took off his jacket, tossing it on Erin’s bed and crossing over to her dresser.

“Fuck it, this night’s already gone to shit anyways - right?” Adonis smirked, pulling out a crisp hundred dollar bill from his wallet and rolling it up to resemble a straw. He leaned over, neatly running over the makeshift straw over the line so it shot straight back. The medicinal taste hit the back of his throat, Adonis clearing his throat as he pulled back. Camilla held a smile as she watched Adonis do his line before lightly yanking the bill he used and following suit. She scrunched her nose as she whipped her hair back, running her fingers through it.

“Damn,” He said, pressing down on one of his nostrils with his thumb to inhale sharply, sending the remnants of the cocaine as far back as he could. “This is some good shit - looks like fame has its perks.”

“Mhmm. And much more than just that.” She sighed with contentment. Adonis ran his fingers over the residue from their lines, rubbing it over his gums. It made his mouth tingle. He looked over at Camilla as she slipped the hundred dollar bill into the front of her dress, giving him a look up and down.

“So suspenders huh?” Cam said as she reached out and pulled one towards her, pulling him to her a bit. He looked down at her hand pulling him, raising his brow as he looked back to her.

“I mean, you look great in them, just a curious choice. Definitely can pull them off.” She continued, releasing it as it snapped back to him and winking at him.

“You still all pent up?” Camilla asked as she turned around and strutted over to the desk on the other side of the room, she bent over slightly, possibly a bit more than needed on purpose, and moved some things out of the way and a bit of snooping. Adonis’ gaze followed her like a predator did their prey, suddenly noticing the cut of Camilla’s dress. She turned back around and faced Adonis, leaning against it.

“In a way,” He smirked, Lauren far from his mind now. His eyes ran over Camilla’s figure, lingering along her plunging neckline. Camilla felt the energy she was emitting as she watched Adonis trace her body.

“Eyes are up here big boy.” She said with a snap of her fingers and circling her face. After a moment she flashed a smile, giving the air a kiss in his direction with a soft, ‘mwah’.

Like the dog he was, Adonis’ attention was broken by the sound of her fingers snapping, looking back to her dark eyes. He flashed a mischievous smile, starting to feel the effects of the blow emboldening his actions. Stepping forward so that he blocked Camilla in, his hand slid along her arm all the way up to gently push her hair behind her shoulder. His fingers ran along her jawline, brushing over her neck before pausing.

“Camilla,” Adonis sighed, as if he was finally realizing that she was in front of him. “You know I was never really good at self-control.”

Staying still as Adonis approached, and then having him stop in front of her, Camilla started to feel a bit of heat build up in her chest and light chills over her body as his hand slid across her. She raised her chin up slightly as his fingers went along her jaw. “Well.” She spoke a single word, feeling a bit vulnerable to him for an instant. “I don’t think I’m asking you to have control.”

Cam leaned in and lightly kissed him on the cheek, barely making contact before leaning further, to his ear, her finger tracing behind it, playing with his hair. “And trust me. I know.”

Camilla knew what she was doing. He didn’t know if she just wanted to have her fun but either way he was grateful for the distraction. Wrapping his free hand around her waist he tugged her close against him. The hand that had lingered by her neck slid around, fingers curling around the nape of her neck turning her face towards her.

“What about now?” He asked, giving her an all-knowing smirk.

Letting out a light gasp in reaction to the sudden movement, Camilla just stared at Adonis for a moment. Her own hand slid down, tucking her fingertips into the waistband of his pants. Camilla wasn’t sure if it was; the effect of the drugs hitting her, the memories of spending time with Adonis in the past, or her own lust fueling her but she was enjoying this and the anticipation of what it was leading to.

Camilla just nodded in reply to his question, letting out breath as her eyes stared into Adonis’. The feeling she felt before of how she started to feel like she was under control was now in full effect. Camilla was now at his complete mercy.

“What are you going to do now?” She asked, tempting fate, giving back a smirk of her own.

As if he’d been waiting for her answer, Adonis wrapped a hand around Camilla’s leg raising it over his hip. The motion lifted her slightly, Adonis sliding her back so that she was sitting on the edge of the desk with him standing in between her legs. The hand still gripping at the nape of her neck pulled her in, his lips colliding against her’s a bit more forcefully than he intended. It was like muscle memory with Camilla.

They may have never been a thing, at least not in the traditional sense - but they had always had fun together. There was a time that it seemed like they might be, but Camilla was never meant to stick around a place like this; with people like them. He reached behind Camilla, knocking over some of the things on Erin’s desk as he leaned Camilla back pushing himself against her all the while. She was so warm and soft, his hands roaming over her and reaching under the fabric of her dress. Pausing, his hands gripping her tight, he broke their kiss looking back at Camilla with his eyes alight.

“How about something like that?” He teased, knowing full well she was enjoying it just as much as he was.

Cam exhaled softly as Adonis positioned her, letting out a quiet surprised squeak. Camilla welcomed the kiss as her hands explored behind Adonis, unclicking his suspenders and untucking his tidy shirt. She envied this feeling, her and Adonis weren’t a perfect match. They weren’t the chocolate and marshmallows that made perfect s’mores. But more so the fire below being ignited with gasoline, dangerous but hell of a lot of fun. Camilla was a bit disappointed when Adonis pulled back, but realising she was starting to breathe heavier.

“Just shut up.” She said, pulling him back in. Adonis laughed against her kiss, breaking to kiss along her jaw and down her neck - then pause.

“Hold on,” He said, walking back over to the bed to grab his jacket. Slipping his hand into an inner pocket to pull out a condom. The last thing he needed right now was to knock up another ‘friend’ from high school. Eagerly finding his way back against Camilla, Adonis returned to their previous position picking up where he left off - making sure to leave a path of destruction in their wake.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes
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ImageCamilla had insisted that Adonis leave Erin’s room first, though he doubted anyone would even notice them. He wasn’t in that pristine a state before him and Camilla hooked up, so he didn’t appear any more roughed up than before - though the same couldn’t be said for Camilla. Giving her a once over as he slipped out the door, Adonis gave her a wink.

It had been a blast from the plast, that much was sure. Though he and Camilla never dated, they always got along. Unfortunately Adonis was drawn to the types others labelled as bitches. It was what got him in this situation in the first place. He closed the door, forgetting to lock it behind him. Looking around to see if anyone noticed him, as if summoned by the smell of a clandestine affair Lauren was staring right back at him with a wicked smile.

He did his best not to react but Lauren could read him better than most, all he did was dull his reaction. Resisting to take the bait and engage with her, he let her walk right past him and into Erin’s bedroom where Camilla was. He considered following but stayed put. Camilla was more than capable of handling Lauren on her own, and honestly Adonis would just be a liability. There wasn’t much else he could do except walk away. He went to turn into the living room when a pretty figure stepped in his path.

“Adonis, hey.” Robyn said, obviously annoyed - though seemingly not at him. “Have you seen Lauren?”

Adonis furrowed his brow in thought, considering at first just telling Robyn but deciding against it. Robyn was sweet but soft. If she were to be around while Camilla was tearing Lauren a new one, Lauren would somehow manage a way to manipulate Robyn to come to her aid. It was her savior complex, always having to tend to the victim something that Lauren would surely play to her favor.

“I think I just saw her on the balcony.” Adonis lied, pointing in the opposite direction. “I dunno though, I’m trying to avoid her.”

“Okay, thanks.” Robyn huffed off in the direction of the balcony, leaving Adonis scratching the back of his neck with a sheepish expression of guilt.

He wasn’t really sure what he should do at this point, it seemed he was out of options. As much as he’d enjoyed his time with Cam, now that the moment was over he was still left in the same situation. Even if it was out of his hands, he couldn’t help but to feel like he should be doing something about it. There had to be another way, and it had to be tonight. Who knew when he’d see Lauren in person with witnesses who’d believe his side of the story?

As he walked to the main entrance, a rogue hand grabbed ahold of him pulling him back. Expecting the worst Adonis turned with a hostile expression, softening when Gabriella’s face was staring back. She put up her hands defensively, laughing under her breath.

“Woah there, was calling your name you didn’t hear me.” Gabriella joked, playfully punching his arm.

“My bad,” Adonis shook his head, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “What’s up?”

“You seen Evie?” Gabriella asked, knowing Adonis was bound to be keeping tabs on her.

Adonis looked around, Evie nowhere in sight. It had been a while since he last seen her. Hopefully she had managed to avoid Lauren but he should probably check in on her soon. He shook his head, turning back to Gabriella.

“Not for a while, I bet she’s in the kitchen or the bathroom or something. . .” He said absently, his mind still on the call he needed to make. “Do you mind finding her? I gotta step out.”

Gabriella nodded, motioning for Adonis to go ahead and turning back into the house as Adonis stepped out. He took a few paces from the door, dialing his lawyer as he lit a cigarette. Surely he had smoked nearly half a pack tonight alone. The shots he took before his encounter with Lauren were already wearing off, and his high was definitely starting to crash. He was scarily sober, adrenaline continuing to burn up any substance he consumed.

“Hello?” Said the gruff voice from the other end of the line.

“Hey, it’s Nis.” Adonis mumbled, looking around to see if anyone was watching him.

“What’s up kid? It’s the middle of the night.”

“I spoke to the mom,” Adonis answered quickly, taking a long drag from his cigarette. He could hear his lawyer move on the other end of the phone, presumably somewhere she could talk to Adonis in private.

“What happened? We need to send a clean up crew?” She asked.

“Nah, nah - nothing like that.” Adonis almost laughed, ashing his cigarette onto the sidewalk. “Though maybe, night’s still young.”

“Well don’t hold out, tell me what happened. Strike that, tell me only what I need to know about what happened.”

“I mean, long story short - she’s not talking.” Adonis looked back to the party, as if he could still see Lauren. “She said she’s got some relationship with the boss.”

There was a loud silence for a beat, he could hear his lawyer thinking what to say next. The thing that made them such a great lawyer is that they knew what questions not to ask, better to have deniability. If Adonis’ was dealing with one of the bosses’ play things, they’d need to tread carefully.

“Here’s what you’re going to do - you’ve already shown your hand so we’ll have to do some damage control.” She started, Adonis nodding along. “Stick around, maybe you can get her to let her guard down. A few drinks, maybe she finds something like a pill or something that gets her feeling loose. Not too much, we need her to appear lucid. Get her on video admitting everything, maybe then we can make it work.”

Adonis sighed, running a hand through his hair. He didn’t like the idea of having to hang around Lauren any longer but he was desperate at this point. To be honest, he rarely saw Lauren drunk enough to lose control like that - but maybe he could help with that.

“I might have to slip something in her drink, but I can make it happen.” Adonis said, his lawyer immediately talking over him.

“Woah, woah - I don’t need to know the details. I just need the video.”

“Got it - video.” Adonis said, noticing that Julian was standing nearby. Unsure how long his friend had been there and what he’d heard, he gave a nod of acknowledgement doing his best to play it off. He added to his lawyer, turning from Julian momentarily. “I gotta go, I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Turning back to Julian, Adonis slipped his phone back into his pocket pretending that he hadn’t just talked about slipping something in someone’s drink. Even with context, it didn’t make Adonis look all that good. He offered Julian a cigarette, taking a hit of his own.

“What you doing out here?” Adonis asked. “Only the fuck ups and exiles hang out by the stoop.”

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Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies
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Julian Davies.
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The neon lights of the shops went by in flashes. Julian was half walking, half running. He felt like someone was sitting on his chest. How the hell can she know that name… there should only be one person knowing, and that was one too many.

He felt his hands itching. The more he scratched them, the rougher they felt. He felt his phone buzzing in his pocket, but he wasn’t in the right mind to answer. He buried his hands in his jeans pockets, not having a jacket on him. He didn’t really know where he was going, but he felt like he had eyes on his back the entire time. Like officers would jump him again to arrest him and take him back to prison.

Although he did not discuss this with any of his friends, he had been having panic attacks for a long time. He felt scared he would cross the line, scared he would do something that would make him have to go back. The police jumping from out of nowhere the night he was arrested had definitely left a mark, and it made him feel like he was never safe.

He had a hard time adjusting back to normal life, and if he would tell his friends, they would likely assume he should be in the looney bin instead. He just got a job and his life back together, he couldn’t lose that, not because of Lauren fucking Clark. He had handled her exactly the way he shouldn’t have. He needed to go back to her. Talk to her again. Maybe he could offer her something, maybe he could convince her to drop the subject. He would just have to make her see his side of the story, there was no other way.

He almost jumped when he felt his phone vibrating again. He saw the name of his parole officer, Jason, appearing on the screen, along with the message he missed 5 calls already. He answered and heard how his voice was more high-pitched than usual.
”H-hey, man, I’m sorry… about that.”
He heard a relieved sigh on the other end.

”Julian, jeez, you had me worried. I haven’t received a call from you like that in a while. Where are you? I am here but I can’t see you.”
Julian looked around him, for the first time seeing the street sign. He was quite a bit away from the location he had given earlier.
”I just had to walk it off. I’m so sorry man, I didn’t know what to do, but I know now. I shouldn’t have called you.”

”Dude, you can always call me, we went over this. Just let me know where you are, we can talk.”
Julian looked around, his paranoia getting the better of him.
”No, man, it’s fine. I just had to think.” He cleared his throat, trying to sound a bit more like himself. ”The fresh air helped, I feel much better.” he lied.
He knew if he talked to Jason face to face, he would be distracted. Right now he needed to talk with Lauren and figure this thing out. Why did I have to react so violently, that’s not gonna help against Lauren.

”Then do me a favor, Julian. Make me feel better by seeing you are okay.” There were a few seconds of silence. ”You know what, let me pick you up and drop you off at the party again, that’s all I ask.”
Julian softly punched the brick wall he was leaning against while he contemplated the offer.
”No man, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.” He put up a smile, hoping it made him sound more convincing. ”I’ll see you next week, you promised to come to the bar, right?”

Julian didn’t wait for an answer. ”Anyway, thanks again. You’re always there for me, I won’t forget it. Have a good night, I won’t disturb you again” He could hear another stammer on the other end, but he didn’t wait and clicked away the call.
It was only a few seconds before it rang again, but he clicked the call away and turned off his phone.

Julian still needed to calm his nerves. He couldn’t lose it again in front of Lauren. He saw a shop across the street. He walked inside, past the cat that was lying lazily on the doorstep.
He walked up to the counter. ”One square.”
He threw some money on the counter from his pockets, letting the cashier count what he needed.
”The bathroom is closed!” the guy told him rather passive aggressively.

Julian gave him a confused look. ”Did I ask?”
”Not yet, I’m just letting you know, this isn’t a public toilet.”
Julian scooped the money that was left back in his hand and shoved it down his back pocket without counting it.
”Dude, you can do with the toilet whatever the fuck you want, can I have my smokes now?”
The man gave the packet and Julian removed the plastic right away, leaving it on the counter as he removed one cigarette. He already lit it on his way out, and took a deep drag the moment he was standing outside.

It was helping, but he was still freaking out. He still had no idea what he would say, but he probably had to go through the dust pretty deep after his last stunt. He noticed his step became slower and slower, the closer he came to the party. He lit the next cigarette as the last reached the filter. Almost finding more comfort in having it in his mouth than from the nicotine he dragged out of it. He could hear the music from the apartment a while away. It was busier here with people still coming and going from the party, and a steady amount of smokers haunting the front door.

To the side he saw Adonis smoking, and still finishing his own, Julian went over to him. He kept to the side, since he saw his friend was still on the phone. He only picked up parts of the conversation.

“I might have to slip something in her drink, but I can make it happen.”
Julians ears pricked up, not expecting that. Julian scraped his throat, not feeling comfortable knowing his friend had no idea he was there. He threw his cigarette on the ground and squashed the burning ash with his shoe. As soon as he did he saw Adonis turn to him. His eyes definitely turned larger for a moment, before turning away from Julian.
“I gotta go, I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Julian watched as Adonis stopped the call. Whatever that was about, it was nothing good. And knowing his friend didn’t always stick to the rules, it actually made him worry a bit. Adonis walked over to Julian, holding out another cigarette, which Julian gladly took. I’m smoking as much tonight as I did in the past 2 months combined.

“What you doing out here?” Adonis asked. ““Only the fuck ups and exiles hang out by the stoop.”

Julian laughed as he lit Adonis' cigarette first, and his own second. He slipped the lighter back in his pocket together with his cold, turned off phone.
”I qualified under both categories for years, is my fuck up card revoked or something?”

He looked Adonis dead in the eyes next, feeling calmer himself if he could worry about someone else. ”I’m not going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”
He felt little enthusiasm for lying to his friend.
”Just gonna say, it sounds like an awful idea, and if it’s meant for anyone in here, I still know how to knock your teeth out.”

He put his left hand on Adonis’ right shoulder. With a soft smile on his face: ”Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Now, I need to see a dog about a bone. Do you know where I can find Lauren?”

Adonis just smiled as Julian referred to what he’d just said, shaking his head as he hit his cigarette. Though the threat sounded tempting, Adonis laughed at the prospect of Julian ‘knocking his teeth out’. Julian might have been able to beef up in lock up, but Adonis was in those pits throwing and dodging licks. He’d let Julian find that out the fun way, though.

“Didn’t figure you for a masochist.” Adonis answered Julian, unsure why people kept seeking out Lauren, subjecting themselves to her manipulations. “No idea, follow the smell of sulfur - that’s bound to lead you to her.”

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Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes
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Camilla brushed her hair out of her face with her hand and readjusted her dress while Adonis was on the other side of the room fixing his shirt and suspenders. “Like good old times, right Nis? Honestly, it might have been better than the time we snuck into the rafters during the musical senior year.” She said with a smirk at the end. Her and Adonis were never a thing but more so the person to feed the impulse of a bad decision. Cam gathered up her things and made sure she had everything in her bag, realizing she probably only had enough for one or two more hits tonight. “You head out first, don’t want people to get the wrong idea about us, plus I need to clean up the mess you made me into.” She commented looking around the room and spotting a mirror on the back of the door. She opened it let Adonis out, staying behind it to use the mirror.

Cam put on one puff of perfume to cover up any smells she might have on her, weather it was the smell of sweat, drugs, or anything, she wanted to stay at the top of her game. She had just finished applying a layer of her red lipstick, when she heard someone enter through the open door she was behind, humming to themselves. Camilla peaked around the corner and saw it was Lauren. Though she wasn’t completely surprised to see the woman snooping around, probably trying to find more dirt on Erin to cause some drama.

“Ahem.” Camilla said, followed by a fake cough as she touched up her make-up, letting Lauren know of her presence.

Lauren was beginning to feel that she may not be wanted at this party. Knowing that she would either have to leave or would probably end up being escorted from the apartment before long, she decided to use what time she had left to her advantage. Soren’s room was locked (smart boy) so she tried Erin’s instead. As it had been earlier, it was thankfully still open. But not empty, as she discovered when she entered the room to a fake cough. She whirled around and found it was only Camilla.

“I was afraid it was Erin there for a moment. She’s being particularly difficult this evening,” Lauren said. Then she took a better look at Cam, raising an eyebrow and smirking. “Hope I didn’t interrupt anything. You can tell Adonis to come out if he’s hiding under the bed or something,” she teased, scanning the room for anything that could be of use.

Camilla let out a light laugh, in response to her comment about Erin, but it immediately went away when she brought up Adonis. “First off, you’re lucky it’s not her. Been seeing and hearing a lot during this party, and I doubt she’s happy with you. And second off, he’s not in here, no one is in here.” She rolled her eyes. Cam was hoping that it wasn’t obvious what had happened in here, but maybe others weren’t as observant as Lauren, though Lauren usually observant for her own needs rather than for curiosity. “I’d stay away from the desk though if you’re trying to steal anything.” She spoke still facing the mirror and adjusting her look. “Though I heard from a birdy she has good things hidden around.”

Though as she finished trying to fix her look as much as she can, Cam pushed the door with one hand and it quickly closed. “Any specific drama you’d like to spill? Secret for a secret? Like how we used to Jade on Fridays after school.” She said, finally turning around and facing Lauren.

Lauren pulled a face of exaggerated disgust as Cam told her to stay away from the desk, instead turning around to face her friend. She grinned as Cam asked her if there was any specific drama she wanted to spill. She had to pretend to think for a moment. Hopefully Camilla would be more useful than Jade had done.

“That depends. Who do you want gossip on, and who do you have gossip about?” She asked, going to sit on the bed where Cam had been sitting before. “I’ve got gossip about just about anyone here,” she said, her trademark wicked grin in place. Of course, she was curious to know who exactly Camilla wanted dirt on, and why, and that would determine what exactly she told her.

“Well, Erin carried Livvy out to the couch from the bathroom earlier, but you know how those two are. Dylan’s been pretty flirtatious with Adonis. Oh, and Julian and Simon have some sort of two week bet about dating Robyn.” Camilla leaned against the wall, checking her nails. “Speaking of the widow, I heard she gave you a little love tap.” Camilla smirked, pretending to squint towards Lauren. “Might want a bit more touch up to cover the redness, or at least some blush to even it out.”

Oh, Lauren could always rely on Camilla for the good stuff. She raised an eyebrow and took a mental note about Erin and Livvy. That she could use. She’d had her suspicions about Dylan and Adonis, so it was good to get some confirmation. She honestly didn’t care about Julian and Simon’s bet. That wasn’t quite juicy enough.

She pouted at the mention of Robyn slapping her. “I think you mean she attacked me in a vicious, unprovoked manner,” she said, a tad overdramatically for the sake of letting Cam know she was joking. “That’s interesting about Erin and Livvy, though. Considering Erin showed up at my place, yelling about how it was my fault that Evie starved herself and her heart nearly gave out. And the two of them looked rather cozy when I showed up. Sounds like Erin’s playing the field a bit,” she remarked.

“Let me see, what have I got to offer you? By the looks of it, Gabriella’s back on drugs, which I’m sure Jade will be delighted about. Meanwhile, Jade’s up to her old tricks, I’ve heard she’s been stealing meds. And by the looks of things, there’s something going on with Declan and Soren, which Dean is not happy about,” Lauren listed off, dropping the last bit purely to see how Camilla would react to the news.

Most things Lauren was telling her were interesting. Letting out a laugh with Lauren’s overdramatic retelling of what happened with Robyn. Nothing was ever unprovoked when it came to Lauren, though she knew Camilla knew better from her. Though she was surprised to hear about Erin showing up and the bit between Evie and Erin. “Seems like it.” She replied about Erin ‘playing the field’.

The news about Gabriella wasn’t all that surprising, hearing a few stories about her relapses and being needed to be taken care of. But Jade stealing meds? That seemed pretty out there, especially since that could easily ruin her career in medicine. Though when it came to gossip hours between Camilla and Lauren, probably one of the few times the words coming from Lauren had some fact behind them.

But then she mentioned Soren. Of course she would, Lauren remembers their last meeting together and how she walked in on Camilla sitting next to Soren’s bedside. Cam tried not to show she cared about what Lauren was saying, but doubted she kept her poker face. “I know the Lauren Clark doesn’t just hear things. Jade’s really stealing meds? Like from her work?” Cam asked, hoping to change the subject from Soren, and legitimately curious.

To Camilla’s credit, she almost kept a straight face. Almost. That flicker of emotion was enough to give her away, and anyone else might not have paid too much heed. But Lauren knew exactly what that meant. Even after all this time, Camilla still cared about Soren. She tried to cover it up with a change in subject, but Lauren had noticed, like she always did.

“Please, giving away too many details might give away my sources,” Lauren said. “But it certainly seems that way. Not much, and just here and there. But if you’re looking for anything specific, she might be a good place to start, is all I’m saying.” But Lauren didn’t care about Jade. She was waiting for Jade’s answer, and telling Cam about all of the things she was doing wrong wasn’t likely to cause too much chaos.

“Anyway. Back to Soren, I know you and him have an… interesting relationship,” Lauren said. “You’ll be glad to hear that Beautiful Strangers are going to have an absolute PR disaster on their hands before long, once I get this Instagram post finished.” She said vaguely, watching Camilla and her reaction the whole time.

Cam let out a sigh and a roll of her eyes when Lauren wouldn’t elaborate about Jade, whatever it was, it seemed like something juicy. She just ignored the comment about going to Jade for anything specific. Unlike Soren, Camilla’s occasional drug use wasn't kept a secret, hell, even got a song or two about it and relapse. But then Lauren brought it back to Soren.

“What?” Camilla quickly blurted out, without much of a thought. “What instagram post?” She asked, taking a step closer to Lauren. Taking a moment to think. “And we don’t have a relationship, if anything. We are rivals.”

Cam’s reaction meant that Lauren had to hold back a wickedly delighted grin, instead keeping it to a smirk. The way that Cam added that there was no relationship between them made Lauren chuckle a little. Seeing her lose her composure like that while she insisted there was nothing there was far too amusing for her. “Oh, I know there’s nothing going on there, darling. Someone else has got his attention. But, well, we’ll have to see how long that lasts.” She paused for a second, pulling out her phone and taking a moment to swipe through the photos until the one she found.

“Well, you know that ‘quirky airhead frontman’ act Soren pulls all the time when he forgets the words to songs or spaces out in the middle of an interview? Well, I’ve discovered it’s not just an act. He’s high off his ass on painkillers. And my sources say that it’s not just an occasional thing. By all accounts, he’s practically hooked on them. And I have proof,” Lauren said, holding out her phone to Camilla but keeping it clutched in her hand so the other woman couldn’t snatch it from her. “So I’m going to post this, talking about how there are reports of him not being able to function without them, and see how people respond to him when they find out he’s a junkie on the road to nowhere.”

Camilla squinted, a scowl coming across her face as Lauren taunted her about someone else having Soren’s attention. It wasn’t jealousy that was getting Cam heated, but that Lauren was trying to make her jealous by saying these things. But her scowl dropped as Lauren showed proof of the words she was saying.

The photo was just an unmarked pill bottle in Soren’s possession, much like the ones she took out of the cabinet and now had in her purse. “It won’t stick, Lauren. It’s just a picture.” Camilla took a step back. “Plus he doesn’t have his pills anymore.” She said with a smirk coming across her face. “I overheard you two earlier, it wasn't hard to figure out your plan.” She shook her bag, referencing something inside of it.

Lauren raised an eyebrow as Camilla insisted that it wouldn’t stick. She clearly underestimated Lauren’s abilities if she thought that Lauren couldn’t make something stick if she wanted to. Then Cam declared that he didn’t have his pills any more, with a gesture to suggest that she had them instead. Lauren paused for a moment, raising an eyebrow.

“So what’s going to happen when he notices that they’re gone?” She asked, calmly. “Are you going to confess? Say you were trying to protect him from me? He’ll think you were in on it too, Camilla. You won’t earn yourself any favours with him. He won’t change his mind about you. And what then?” She asked.

Cam let out a chuckle when Lauren paused, a bit of a slip up and surprise of her actions. “Easy. I blame you. You’re already in here snooping, already threatened him once or twice or half a dozen times.” Camilla got closer to Lauren’s face. “You don’t have the upper hand. Drop it. Bitch.”

Lauren raised an eyebrow as Cam said that she didn’t have the upper hand, smiling a little. “Oh, really? I’ve got plenty of dirt on you, too, by the way. I could say that you have the meds because you want to take them for yourself, because you’re really no better.”

“Then it’s a case of she said she said Laur. And while some people don’t like me, they despise you a hell of a lot more.” Camilla didn’t back down, staying in Lauren’s face. “But good luck trying to get in the light Lauren. While it might be a disaster with whatever you may have planned for Soren’s band or for me, it’ll pass. No ones gonna care in a few months. Just like no one is going to care about you or remember you after tonight.”

The unfortunate thing about Cam knowing Lauren so well was that she knew exactly how to get under her skin. The concept of being a nobody was a horrific one to Lauren. She needed to be seen, needed to be remembered, and Cam knew that. And for the first time that night, her composure cracked. She shoved Camilla away from her, roughly. “Get the fuck out of here, Camilla. I can’t believe I ever wanted to keep you around,” she spat.

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Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Adonis Galante
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Jade Davies.
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outfit. #cb0e36.song.
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The taxi driver put some speed behind it. During the day it would not have been possible to make it to the hospital in that amount of time, but late in the evening it was a bit better. Especially if you, like the driver, would know where they were busy with road works.

With a minute to spare they arrived at the hospital and Jade got out. She dropped enough cash with the man to make it worth his while. She didn’t listen for a response as she made it to the staff entrance at the back of the hospital. Inside, she made her way to the second floor. She was way too obvious in her outfit, so she made a beeline for her locker to grab her doctors coat. She looked at the mirror inside of her locker and undid her hair from the tight bun it was in.

All that time for fucking nothing... She let her hair hang down and grabbed a hair tie from a small box inside the locker. She put her hair in a high ponytail. She checked her face left and right and put up a smile. ”Welcome to your shift, doctor Davies.” She gave herself a small wink, almost as if assuming a character.

Jade walked out of the locker room, not seeing anyone on the way. The hospital was generally more quiet at night, and that would give her a nice background story for what she had in mind. She needed to deal with this quickly, so she could make her way back to the party before anyone would notice she was gone.

Next stop was the cafeteria. As soon as she stepped in she realized she was out of luck. All chairs were on the tables and the soft zooming of the cleaning machine was the only audible sound. She gave a friendly but discouraged nod to the cleaner. If the cleaners were here, it usually meant the kitchen staff already left. Jade closed the door again before she heard a shattering sound in the kitchen.

The cleaner looked at her and raised his shoulders in disinterest. Jade walked over to the door of the kitchen quickly. There was a security code on the door, so she knocked instead.
”Hello? Everything all right? It’s doctor Davies, do you need any help?”
The person must have not expected it, because the moment Jade spoke she heard something else shatter.
”I’ll come in, just give me the code to the door, I can help.”

A shaky voice came from inside the kitchen. ”It’s 665566, but you don’t need to come in.., really!”
Before the voice had finished, Jade had already typed the code into the panel. She heard a soft click and she opened the door. Inside she saw a young woman, sitting on her knees, picking up the glass pieces of the bowl she had dropped earlier. Jade could see a cut on her hand. The girl stared up at Jade, her eyes watery.
”Please don’t tell anyone, they are complaining about me already, if they find out this they will fire me.”

Jade almost felt sorry for her. She hadn’t seen the girl before, so she couldn’t have been there for long. Jade put up a soft smile, trying to make the girl feel better. She could introduce herself as Jade, but doctor Davies made more of an impact, especially on younger people.
”No need to panic, just calm down.”
She bent her knees until she was at eye level with the girl. She spoke soft but firm at the same time. ”My name is doctor Davies, what is yours?”
As she asked it, she wiped a tear away from the girls cheek.

”I’m Samantha, but most call me Sammy.”
Her high voice spiked as she said her own name. She used her hands to wipe her tears away right where Jade had just done so.
Jade’s eyes squinted warmly as the girl introduced herself. ”All right Sammy, here’s what we are going to do. Let’s get this glass out of the way, then we’ll take care of that cut on your hand and then this will be our little secret.”

Sammy looked delighted at that, especially the secret part and she nodded her head quickly. Together they finished picking up the small pieces of glass all over the floor. Jade grabbed one of the carton food boxes and they placed all of it in there, before putting it in the trash.
”All right, now put your hand on the workbench here, palm open upward. ”

As the girl did what Jade said, she grabbed the first aid kit from the wall and opened it up on the workbench. She picked out some disinfection fluid, gauze and a roll of bandage. She put on the latex gloves and sprayed the disinfection fluid on the wound in the palm of her hand and cleaned off the blood and dirt. Then she put the gauze on the wound and used the bandage to put figure-8’s around it. ”You’re lucky, Sammy, you won’t need any stitches.”

She finished it off by putting on two bandage fasteners to keep it in place.
”There you go, that does it.” Jade said as she took off the gloves and threw them in the bin.
”Thank you, doctor Davies, thank you so much for helping me. I wish there was anything I could do back for you.”

There it was, the line Jade always wanted to hear. The more people owed you, the more willing they were to do anything for you.
”Well, it may not be payback in full, but I’d kill for some doughnuts. ” She pulled up her lip in order to make the request look more playful than it actually was.
”I have some! I just made a small batch to get started tomorrow.” Sammy’s face lit up when she realized there was something she could do in return.
”Wait, just one second.”
She disappeared to the back and Jade grabbed her phone to check how much time had gone by. She had been away from the party for about 20 minutes at the time and looking at Instagram, she wasn’t missing much.

Then she saw it. A post from Lauren’s account with her and Dean kissing. From the clothes she could see the picture was just taken. The caption was sappy as hell.

When that special someone is right under your nose all this time

It was so clearly just taken to annoy Jade, she might as well have been tagged. She knew that Lauren never had the slightest interest in Dean, and aside from a decent lay , there was not much he could offer.
Jade wasn’t as annoyed that Dean was gone, but more so that it would be Lauren he had gone to. If thinking with your dick ever needed a picture to illustrate...
She resisted the urge to reply or put any comment/barf emoji on the post, knowing it would only make Lauren’s smile a bigger one.

As Sammy appeared again with a small box, Jade locked her phone and put it away. She was here to do something, and Dean’s stupid decisions were just a distraction. Jade put up her smile again as she saw the four doughnuts in the box.
”Oh my goodness Sammy, you’re such an angel.”
The girl smiled and handed over the box.

”Now, I’m on shift this whole week, I’ll come see you in two days to check on the wound, okay?”
Sammy nodded enthusiastically.
”Now your shift must have ended some time ago. So don;t stick around too long and go home, sweetie, please.”
With a last wave Jade exited the kitchen.

Outside she passed the cleaner again who looked even less interested in her than before. She walked through the hallways on her way to the person she had called at the party. It had been pure luck that he was the one on shift, but Jade thought she earned at least a bit this evening. She waived hello to one or two of the doctors she passed, all of them just smiling back at her.

She knocked on the door to the small office and opened it without waiting for an answer.
”Bill, are you able to cheer up this poor resident in her break time?”
She stepped forward into the only light that was on in the room. Putting up the best pouty lip she could, and the one she had used every time she needed something from someone.
”Jade? I didn’t even know you were on shift tonight. You sure you want to spend your precious break time with an old fart like me?”
The man leaned back in his chair, looking at Jade with a smile on his face. He was a big man, his stomach standing out far further than it should. He had a big bushy moustache, as black as the few hairs still left on his head. He was wearing the suit and the pin that all security guards of the hospital wore.

The room smelled like sweat. It was not much more than a cupboard and the air circulation here was poorer than in the rest of the building. The heat of the computers and the monitors made the air stuffy, and all of this did not set well with the large man's armpits.
”You know I’m not supposed to let others in here.” He said it with a smile on his face, like he was only half serious.

It was a good thing Jade had the perfect weapon to take the serious half out of the equation. ”You mean you’re going to make me eat these all by myself?”
She held out the small box of doughnuts and opened it in front of his face.
Seeing the delicious pastries he sat up straight and leaned over, almost licking his lips.

”Okay then, you know, you drive a hard bargain, you.” He grabbed the box from her hands and put it on the desk in front of him. He reached with his hand behind him and he pulled forth another rolling chair, putting it next to him. ”Come, sit.”
Jade took the seat, smiling.

Bill had been an easy one to figure out quickly. He liked his food and he liked to think of himself as the glue that held the hospital together. He had worked there for most of his life, and he always provided a pair of open arms to any newcomer. He had three sons, and no daughters. This made him vulnerable to the young female residents. He would always back them up and gave a much harder time to the young male doctors.

Being the head of security, he had been a prime target for Jade. It might be a connection you could use at times, and such a time had now come. This wasn’t the first time she had been sitting here, and he had explained some things about the system before. Plus, Jade wasn’t stupid when it came to computers.
”Don’t you ever get bored, just staring at the screens?”

Jade took a bite out of her first doughnut when Bill started his second.
Still chewing, he replied.”Oh well, it’s nicer to watch TV, but this pays the bills. We can’t all be doctors, young lady.”
Jade laughed and playfully put her head on his shoulder.
”There must be some videos you watch more often, a kind of ‘best of’, so to say. To make the time go faster, I mean. How long do you even keep these files for?”

Bill licked his fingers finishing the second doughnut. Jade was plucking on her first still, savouring the food quite a bit more than he did.
”We keep all of them for exactly 3 years. After that we delete them from the system completely.”
Jade took one or two bites before asking on, not to seem too eager.
”I guess some other company will come in to delete them then, right?”

Bill tried to get to an all time record by attacking the third doughnut. With a full mouth he waived his hand. ”Ah no, it’s nothing. You can either delete or shred the file after selecting it, so we do it ourselves on a daily basis. Thank you for the snack, doctor Dimples.”

Jade smiles as she finishes her own as well.
”They are a bit dry though, I should have gotten a soda as well.” She put up a sad face and turned to Bill. ”Argh, and I was just so happy to finally sit down.”

Bill made an attempt to get up himself. ”No worries, Dimples. You treated me to a nice snack, let me treat you to a drink. Coke okay?”
Jade clapped her hands in played excitement. This was exactly what she had hoped for.
”You really are the sweetest man around. Anything but Pepsi is good.”

She watched the door close behind the large man before she pushed his chair out of the way. The playback system was easily navigated, and the date she had seen on the video on Lauren’s phone had not left her mind since she saw it.
She typed in the date and a large number of files came up on the screen. She didn’t have the time to go through all of the videos separately, so she selected all of them. In the menu she looked for the ‘shred button’ Bill told her about. She found and clicked it, all the while keeping an eye on the door.

From the corner of her eye she spotted the security guard on the live cameras. She kept moving her hands over the keyboard nervously, not even typing, just keeping an eye on the percentage of deleted videos.
As the files were deleted, she got a hunch and went back to the search box. She typed in ‘Jade’ and she saw a few videos come up. She recognized the first right away as being the video Lauren had. The others seemed to be close up of her walking in the hallways, and two of her eating lunch. She read how the user name on all of them were A306040.

On the camera, she saw how Bill was making his way back, with a coke in his hand. She just clicked on the one video and deleted it quickly. The videos of her eating lunch, they could have. Fucking pervs.

She set back the monitor as she found it and moved Bill’s chair back just as the door opened again. Bill entered and handed her the coke.
”You are the absolute best!”
She opened the can and took a sip out of it before holding it out to the security guard.

”No thanks, not for me.” He sat back in the chair which gave a squeaking sound as he sat back again.
”Well, my break is finished, back to the boring shift. You know what, I’ll check with the doctor on call if I can go, I’m just here for extra credit in any case.”
She got up out of the chair.

”I hope they let you go, it’s a good night for young people to have fun, not to be locked up here, like me. And you look like you could go to a party just as you are right now…, maybe lose the doctors coat.”
Jade laughed at the joke. That was exactly her plan, to get back to the party.

”Well, thanks for the company, time here is better when you are around.”
She gave him a quick side hug, happy her plan had worked exactly as she had wanted it to.

”That sounds like what I should be saying to you, dimples. Now you know the story, right? You were never in here.”
Jade mimed the locking of a key in front of her mouth and opened the door. When she left his office, she made her way back to the locker room to drop off her coat. She finished her coke on the way to the front of the hospital.

The same taxi was still standing there. As soon as the driver saw her, he got out of the car and opened the door for her. She got in and waited for the driver to get back in. ”All right, same deal if you get me back to the same place in the next 5 minutes.”

Sitting in the back, she took the pins back out of her purse, and put her hair back in the same tight bun as she had before. She redid a bit of her makeup, so it looked like no time had passed.
Okay, so the original video is gone. Next is Lauren’s phone, and then any copies she might have. And tomorrow I have to figure out who the hell user A306040 is.

The taxi pulled up to Erin and Soren’s apartment again and she gave the driver another generous amount. She stepped out of the car and walked to the front door. Waiting outside as if he’d been expecting her to appear, Adonis flicked the butt of his cigarette falling into step with Jade. He could tell by the look on her face that she was on a warpath so he saved her the favor of mincing words.

“Hey, I need something to get Lauren talking.” He said simply, already knowing dropping the L bomb was enough to get her attention.
Jade didn’t jump or even flinch with Adonis’ sudden appearance. She looked around, seeing if anyone kept an eye on them. The coast looked clear and she put her hand on Adonis’ chest, and pushed him backwards. The first option she could see was a storage unit, hopefully unoccupied at the time.

Jade kept pushing him back into the storage unit and closed the door behind her. Their faces were closer together than they had been in years. But neither of them had the look of passion on their face they had all those years ago. She grabbed her purse and pushed it into his hands. ”Hold this.”

Without waiting for response she rummaged in the purse Adonis was now holding. She took out the familiar box of pills and a small plastic bag. She took 3 pills, all the same and closed the plastic bag. She put the little bag into Adonis’ breast pocket and grabbed her purse back from his hands.
”One is okay, two works better, three might kill her. Understood?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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XXXXXXSimon had searched everywhere for Livvy after his concerning conversation with Lauren. He was just about to pull out his phone to call her, thinking she had left the party when he spotted her familiar platinum blonde head seated on the couch. She was staring out at the crowd, her eyebrows drawn together in concern. He frowned and walked over to her, dodging people as he went. When had Erin's apartment become so crowded?

"There you are!" He said by way of greeting. "Are you alright?" He looked in the direction she was facing as if to see what she was looking for. "What are you looking at?"

Livvy blinked, pulled back to reality as she registered Simon was beside her. "What? Oh! Yeah. I'm ok. Why were you looking for me?" She asked, puzzled.

Simon ran a hand through his hair and let out a deep sigh. "Julian had said you were last spotted talking to the Fire Breathing Bitch Queen and I thought maybe something happened." She stiffened at the mention of Lauren. "Something did happen, didn't it?" Livvy shrugged, but wouldn't look at him. He waited, knowing if he wanted to talk about it with him, she would.

Finally she said, "Yes. But I'm alright now. I promise. She just... reminded me about Eustice and-" She cut herself off with a shiver. Simon reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. She smiled softly at him. "I just let her get into my head and had a bit of a setback. But Erin came and helped and then Evie suggested this awesome idea! She suggested I start a YouTube channel for my art."

Simon was glad his friend was fine, but he knew it couldn't have been pretty. Simon had known about Eustice's history with Livvy. It was an effort not to lay into the man whenever he saw him, but Livvy had begged him not to mention it. It would only make things worse. She never wanted to do anything more about it. Probably thanks to the gaslighting of her mother. Simon's hands curled into fists at the thought of her mother and step-father. The man hurt her daughter and all her mother did was call her terrible names and blame Livvy for the treatment. That was when he remembered what he had said to Lauren about Karma and he relaxed a little.

He realized Livvy was staring at him, confusion and concern on her face. "You ok, Si? Did something happen with Robyn?" She asked.

"No, not really. There is an interesting development there, but first, you're sure you're ok?" He watched her for a moment as she nodded, inspecting her for all her tells when she wasn't. Once he was sure she was alright, he continued. "Apparently Julian has an interest in Robyn as well."

Livvy gasped dramatically, more to make light of the situation than the fact she was actually surprised. "No! That must be rough. He's your best friend." She smirked, punching him lightly in the arm. "Well guy best friend, of course."

He chuckled softly. "He gave me two weeks to ask her on a date before he made his move. I don't want to make her feel like she has to choose when she's still grieving Nate, but-"

"But you really like her and don't want to miss out on your chance. You're also thinking that he's your best friend and you want him to be happy." She finished for him, knowing him like the back of her hand. He gave her a look that said Get out of my head but he nodded. "Go for it, Si. The worst she can do is say 'no'. It stinks, but I know you respect people enough to give them that space. You still have to give yourself the chance."

He didn't know how to respond so instead, he just sat next to his friend and taking in the comfort of just the two of them being together. Finally, he asked, "Who were you looking for?"

"Erin. She was here talking to me, and then she saw someone and took off. I feel like something's wrong." She paused, understanding settling over her. "You know what? I think she saw Evie. Which means Evie saw us." Simon raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything. "We didn't do anything!" She said defensively. "I just... you know how I am around Erin."

He sighed. "Yeah. My thoughts are Evie didn't like what she saw given how she and Erin were dancing earlier." Livvy nodded but didn't say much else. "I would try to straighten things out with her when you can. Especially if you're going to ask for her help on the channel." Livvy nodded again, a look of guilt shimmering in her eyes. "No. No, don't you do that. Evie chose to get tangled with Erin. And from what I know of her, commitment isn't exactly something that comes easily."

Livvy gave him a hard look. " Says the guy who has feelings for a widow."

He opened his mouth to reply. Then closed it. Finally, he said, "Fair. But you can't blame yourself for that."

Livvy sighed, running her hands through her hair to the point where it seemed to tease it slightly, giving it more volume but also made it kind of a mess, "You're right. I'll try to talk to her later though. I..." She took a deep breath, "Erin knows how I feel about her, and I know that she cares about me, but I've seen the way she looks at Evie." She felt a tug in her chest. She rubbed at it. She bit her lip, feeling mist come to her eyes.

Simon put an arm around Livvy and pulled her in close, squeezing.

Something Lauren said, that thankfully wasn't about her, crossed her mind and she asked, suddenly concerned, "Have you seen Adonis? Last I saw him he was chasing Dylan." Simon just shook his head. "Sorry, kid. He's probably off getting into trouble somewhere. I swear he's like a magnet." Livvy nodded. A magnet made sense for Adonis. Explained why she always liked being around him. She was trouble herself apparently.

They sat quietly for a while before she revealed. "I almost fucked Dean in the bathroom."

"You almost did what!?"