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Olivia Eriksen

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time

0 · 126 views · located in New York

a character in “the last of the real ones”, as played by xXxCryptic-AngelxXx

Description



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"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time"x Thomas Merton
Cliffs Edge - Hayley Kiyoko
Ocean Eyes - Billie Eillish
River - Bishop Briggs



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F U L LXN A M E
Olivia Montague

N I C K N A M E (S)
Olive or Livvy

B I R T H D A Y
June 8th

A G E
Twenty Four

S E X U A L I T Y
Bisexual

E T H N I C I T Y
Norwegian & German

H O M E T O W N
San Francisco, CA

H E X
#F1D03A



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S T Y L E
Livvy is a thrifter and typically likes oversized things. She has a great body type, but doesn't much care to show it off too much. She has to really like you to dress up. Her favorites are oversized sweaters and tees that she can wear while she works. She has a vintage Pepsi shirt she wears for good luck that is worn to threads.

H E I G H T & W E I G H T
Livvy is 5'4" and about 138lbs

A P P E A R A N C E
As stated previously, Livvy has a great body. She's got curves in all the right places without it being over the top. She has long light blonde hair and dark brows. She usually has a streak of paint on her skin where she missed while washing up after work. She doesn't often dress up and wears more natural hues in terms of make-up. She's got a few tattoos scattered about her body, but they're mostly covered for now until she gets more. Only the most deserving can view the artwork.



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L I K E S
Livvy is a sucker for beautiful things. People, places, things. And she tends to collect them. Of course she enjoys her artwork both traditional and her photography. She likes some indie music but does enjoy a good amount of alt rock and pop music. She enjoys both late nights and sunrises since she tends to nap throughout the day anyway. Prefers tea or lemonade for drinks though on a cold night she'll take a hot chocolate with marshmallows. She likes fluffy blankets and traveling the world. Her favorite colors are gold and navy and especially love the contrast that makes them gorgeous together. She loves animals. She prefers comfort over style and loves a great walk on the beach or a night under the stars. Vices are her weakness-- hallucinogens, stimulants, alcohol, and sex. Things that make her feel alive. She's truely a free spirit.

D I S L I K E S
Livvy doesn't like being confined. And is actually a little claustraphobic though not in her bus. She can open the windows and feel the open air. She hates being woken up and can't stand when people chew with their mouths open. She doesn't like a busy body who needs organization and routine. She feels low when her art doesn't work out the way it is in her head[b]. She finds it hard to sleep due to [b]nightmares that plague her. She finds it tiresome to keep up on social media though has no problem doing it for business. She hates the smell of lavender. While she likes the outdoors she's not a big fan of hiking especially because she never has the appropriate wear for it. And as much as she enjoys it too much chocolate can make her sick. She's also lactose intolerant.


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P E R S O N A
Al you already know, Livvy loves beauty so she tends to be a bit of a romantic and is overly flirtatious. She's free-spirited so she enjoys the flow of life over the humdrum of a daily routine in the city. She's stubborn when she wants to be, but only about the things she truly cares about. She can commit to everything but people, but mostly because she knows humanity can be cruel and she's terrified of getting her heartbroken. She can be pretty ballsey especially when she's on something that boosts her confidence. She doesn't shy away from who she is and is very true to herself. She's proud of her work but modest. Especially about her own body.


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H I S T O R I A
Olivia Freya Montague was born in San Francisco, California to her parents, Faith and Daniel Eriksen. They were artists themselves and thrived on the West Coast of the US, but as time got hard, they found themselves in New York. Olivia was 9 1/2 when they finally settled in their small apartment of a six-story walk-up. Thankfully they only lived on the third floor. She spent a lot of her time in Manhattan and Soho but would occasionally traverse to the other neighborhoods to soak in the culture.

Her parents divorced when she was fourteen. It wasn't long before her mother found a boyfriend who seemed to have more interest in Livvy than her mother. It was when she started to hide her body behind baggy clothing. Not that it stopped them. She met Simon not long after she moved. His family owned an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. She met most of the others in High School. [will add once relationships are established.] She enjoyed attending parties more for the people she'd meet and the mind-altering substances that would be shared there. She used it as an escape from her life, as well as, inspiration for her art. She found she enjoys the company of women, men, and those in between. She savors the feel of skin as much as the feel of paints. Stimulation. Things that make her feel alive.

Since high school, she's been working at an art conservatory whenever she isn't commissioned for art pieces herself or hired as a photographer for events. She will occasionally use the same escape methods though she tries to stay away from them. Especially since what happened in Chicago... After a night of partying, she returned home and passed out on her bed without changing. She heard a commotion in the house, but she thought it was just her roommates. It wasn't until she had gotten up, staggering to the bathroom that she found the body. She was still under the influence so she hadn't been sure what she saw. She did call the police, but describing the scene was tough and they almost didn't believe her. Almost didn't send anyone. She begged them to and they finally came. It was much too late. After that, she packed up her things, sold what she didn't need, and used her savings and the money she made on her artwork to buy and convert a bus. Now she travels the country for her photography but stays in one place long enough for conservator work. Guilt keep her off substances... but sometimes the guilt is too much to keep going without them.


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R E L A T I O N S H I PXS T A T U S
Single and down to mingle. Or fuck. Giving her heart away is only for those who really show her she's worth more than her skills. Is more beautiful than her skin.

T A L E N T S
Livvy is a talented artist. She's a fairly descent singer though that's not where her passions lie. She does take some stunning photos. She's also fluent in sign language.

W E A K N E S S E S
She's not the best cook so she often seeks out street food. Cheap, unique, and delicious. Her head is also not often in the realm of logic. She's ruled by her heart, not her mind. She's loyal when it comes to friendships, but she struggles to connect with someone who could be her forever. Her heart had been broken and her body has been used. She's a much better photographer than a model.


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So begins...

Olivia Eriksen's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez 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: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Julian Davies
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Erin Monaghan
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Bartender | Song | attire | #800000
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what do you want?
how do you feel?
what do you think about me?
my thoughts are convincing me
I am the villain
I never thought i’d be
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Erin and Soren had spent the past few weeks planning this party, and as far as she was concerned, it had to be perfect. Everything from the location, setup, the guest list, the food, everything. She wanted to be able to throw at least one where things didn't go to complete shit. Which is where the idea of it being held at their place came in. It was plenty big enough for a party. The living room alone could hold more than fifty people comfortably, the kitchen could also hold at least thirty, and then there was the balcony if people wanted to hang out there and not be stuffed in the apartment. It was perfect.

Deciding who was invited though, that was probably the hardest part if she was going to be honest with herself. Sure, she knew the people who were on the top of her list on who she wanted to invite. Like Livvy, Evie, and even Julian was one she wanted to at least send an invite out to. She knew Liv was always traveling and was living her own life wherever she was in that moment. But Erin had sent the text anyway, and was glad to see that Liv would be coming too. She did miss her after all. Evie, she was one that, not that she had to invite. But more so because she wanted to. Evie was always somewhat of an outcast in their friend group, never exactly close but not a stranger either. Plus, Erin had always been nice to her back then, even when she was friends with She Who Would Not Be Named. Erin couldn't judge who someone was friends with, seeing as she was no saint either back then. Plus, it'd be good for Evie, Erin thought. Help get out of the house, and be able to know she was still a friend. Not that the two haven't seen each other since high school. They would catch up and go for coffee or run into each other occasionally while out. And it was nice. Knowing that neither one held any malice or anger. Besides, it was after Evie was admitted into the hospital, that Erin lost it at Lauren. Showing up to the woman's apartment and berated her even.

So, the fact she had considered Evie basically right away, wasn't surprising. It'd not only give the two of them time to catch up, but also maybe give them the chance to reconnect and try over again. A part of Erin did want to properly be her friend, and maybe this was it. And then there was Julian. Dear God. He was one of the people on her list for a multitude of reasons. The top one being that she felt bad how she entirely ruined his life. Sure, it wasn't meant to happen. Julian having been there was by pure chance. She could have vouched for his innocent, but she didn't. And that always ate her. She knew he wasn't a part of it, and she let it still happen. The guilt never once left, and it was really the main reason she even gave him the job. Whether he knew that or not, Erin felt like she at the very least owed him that much for fucking his whole life up. Besides, in the past month, Julian did prove himself as a hard worker, and Erin was admittedly proud of how far he came. She was glad to see him doing better. She just hoped he could keep it.

As for the others, she and Soren had debated on who else was to be invited. If Erin didn't have an opinion, Soren was allowed to send the invite. And of course, there was a handful that Erin not only doubted would show, like Cam, but also wanted to avoid at all costs like Lauren. That was a no brainer to avoid inviting. They'd both have to be absolute idiots to even entertain that idea for a second. Lauren just always had a way of ruining things, with a mere snap of her finger, and Erin would be fucking damned if she left Queen Bitch Tits herself come along.

So, when people began to arrive, Erin did what she did best, which was knowing how to throw a party. As well as acting like she was the best host that Brooklyn had to offer, which, may or may not have been true. As part of being the host, Erin did welcome each one in with a smile and hug, some more forced than others. Some she just gave a small nod, smile and wave to. It's not that she was being a stuck up and arrogant asshole, just that she knew she was never so close with others. And there was no reason to fake it. Least not yet anyway.

Erin was in the kitchen helping with some drinks when she saw Soren making his way in. She gave him a small smile and wink as she looked up for a moment. Then back at the two people she was speaking with, "If you two will excuse me, I got some people to check up on." she smiled at the two guests, handing them their drinks and swiftly walked away from them. "They're all your's, bud." Erin said softly in Soren's ear as she quickly shuffled passed him and into the living room. Erin took a moment to compose herself, fixing her jacket for a moment as she slowly scanned over the room, trying to see if she could see any faces she felt like actually talking to, and engaging with. Erin did see Dylan, simply giving them a small nod and wave in their direction, next she saw Declan, also giving them a small wave. She got along fine enough with the both of them, but she wasn't exactly in the mood to talk with them just yet.

It was then that Erin managed to scout her out. Off to the wayside, drink in hand as she seemed to nervously look around. Erin smirked a bit, of course Evie would be an awkward wallflower. Some things never changed. Erin combed her fingers through her dark locks and made her way over to Evie. "Not much of a party-girl, are ya?" Erin smirked at Evie as she approached the other woman. Putting an arm around her for a moment as Erin gave her a side hug. "Ya know, as I've gotten older, I've realized I'm not as much of one myself lately." she attempted a joke, clearing her throat not too long after. Erin looked around the room a bit, before looking at Evie, "Yeah alright, you're coming with me. C'mon, bound to happen sooner or later-" she suddenly spoke up, taking the drink out of Evie's hand, placing it on the table that was beside her, and gently took Evie's hand with one of her own. "You do sorta owe the host a dance, at least one, right?" Erin asked with a small, playful smile as she finally looked at Evie as the two got settled on the dance floor.





Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez 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: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Declan Sun
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“Don’t fuck up, kid.” Taylor called out after Gabriella as she headed out the door. “Just one more week for that six month chip.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Gabriella rolled her eyes, but her smile made it evident that she had every intention of getting that chip.

“Call me!” They yelled through the door as Gabriella closed it behind her. They didn’t need to specify when, Gabriella knew they meant whenever. Though her friends had been supportive throughout her recovery, she needed someone who’d been in her position to tell her when she was being a whiny little bitch.

In fact Taylor was the one who convinced Gabriella to go to the party, or rather had been the one to tip her over the fence. Obviously Gabriella wanted to go and she trusted her friends to help her stay drug free, but it was scary. She obsessed over every reason she shouldn’t go despite very obviously wanting to. There were too many temptations, too much bad blood, too many ghosts.Taylor had told her to just shut up and make up her mind already and stop letting fear make her into a blubbering baby. In Gabriella’s opinion that was a bit of an exaggeration but point made. Gabriella just had promised to check in before and after, not that it was mandatory but it didn’t do her any good to piss off her sponsor.

Admittedly Gabriella wasn’t wholly honest with them. Sure when it came to drugs and her work she told Taylor - but lately those things had been the least of Gabriella’s problems. She couldn’t shake this feeling of dread, like soon her whole world would come tumbling down. It felt like things had only begun to stabilize for her and if she was being honest it wasn’t for noble reasons. All she’d done was change her drug, and his name was Damien Wolfe.

Gabriella could tell herself it wasn’t that big a deal as many times as she wanted, didn’t mean she believed it. Even if he and Dylan were in an open marriage she knew the secrecy was wrong, and of course that’s what made it so intoxicating. Secrets ruled Gabriella, had been her demise - for once to have one that gave her such pleasure it felt like reclaiming that power that others had once wielded over her. The weight of a new secret was enough to distract from the burden of older ones, but that little voice never stopped reminding her: the truth will always come out.

When she arrived at the party there were already enough people there that she could somewhat blend into the crowd. Deciding to put on her highest heels so that she could tower over anyone who might try confronting her tonight, she was just under 6’2”. No one was going to make her feel small tonight. Plus she looked hot as hell.

Erin was busy doing host duties but Gabriella had managed to give her a weak wave from across the room when the two were both engaged with other’s. She probably should have gone over but whatever ease existed between them was long gone. Doing her best to find a life ring she floated room to room for a while. Erin seemed to have done well for themselves.

Good, Gabriella thought to herself. She deserves this.

There were some people she remembered but none she was ever really close with but Gabriella kept her eyes open for Evie, Declan or Robyn. While it would be nice to use this party to catch up with the others she needed one of them around to keep her on her best behavior. She knew Jade was bound to show her face and even though it’d been over a year since they’d seen each other, Gabriella knew Jade could still play her like a fiddle. It was nearly an hour in before she found Declan, Gabriella still nursing her first beer.

“Where the fuck have you been.” She clutched his arm, desperation apparent in her voice. Whatever his answer was she didn’t listen, waving his words away. “It doesn’t even matter. You’re here now. Don’t you dare leave me alone.”

Linking arms with Declan, Gabriella immediately launched into a detailed account of all the gossip she learned so far navigating their way to the kitchen. Immediately she felt exponentially more at ease. Declan had that effect on her. Others had to navigate this unspoken agreement that didn’t point the finger at Jade for what happened, but Declan knew better. It’s why she needed him.

Gabriella caught sight of Evie, going towards her before realizing she was dancing beside Erin. Pausing for a moment debating if she should approach them or not, she forgot for a moment that Declan was beside her. She shook her head, tugging them back towards their kitchen.

“They look like they’re out of some gay ass coming of age movie.” Gabriella joked. As they entered the kitchen she recognized a familiar head of white blonde hair. Coming up behind Livvy, Gabriella wrapped her arms around the girl. “Hey bb!”

Gabriella threw back the last of her beer, walking around the island to toss her bottle in the recycling bin. Now that Declan was here she wasn’t so scared to loosen her inhibitions a little. Opening the fridge she grabbed herself another beer, handing one off to anyone who seemed to reach for one nearby.

“Soren!” Gabriella called out as he entered the kitchen, still handing out beers to empty reaching hands around her. “You want a beer?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez 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: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez 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: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez 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: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers 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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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.

Setting

Characters Present

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: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez 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: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Dean Sun
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content warnings: drug use, sexual themes, and mentions of sexual abuse.

Dean couldn’t pretend that Declan’s words hadn’t annoyed him; there was an obvious air of frustration (or was that hurt) on his face as his sibling walked away. He was trying, he really was. He wished others could see it. His entire mood had plummeted, and he’d started considering just up and leaving when he spotted Livvy. She’d always sparked something within him, though he wasn’t sure he could explain what it was if he tried. She was coming towards him, so he decided to close the space between them, casually sipping his drink.

He noticed two things once she was right in front of him: she’d definitely been drinking, and she was upset. Dean had always been pretty good at reading people, and he was even better at reading Olivia. He took a second to paste a concerned expression on his face before he spoke. Woah, hey. What’s wrong?” He knew if he played his cards right he might be able to turn this evening around for himself.

If Livvy was in a better headspace, she would’ve had more of a reaction seeing Dean leaning against the wall with a drink in his hand. She probably would’ve had some flashback of high school when she first approached him at a party. His smile lit up her world and pushed back the shadows of her home life. It was like the calm before the storm of their relationship.

If Livvy was in a better headspace, she probably also would’ve blinked in surprise as he came towards her. That familiar look of mischief in his eyes. At least, until concern replaced it. She tried her best to not seem as frantic or as desperate as she felt. She decided she’d start with: ”Lauren’s here.”

She tried not to glance towards where Lauren was likely still snickering to herself in Erin’s bedroom reading whatever gossip was being handed to her. She also tried not to turn her attention, or glare towards Camilla who invited the fire breathing bitch queen.

How did Lauren even know about her step father? Though, based on her comment, she didn’t know the full history there. But still… only a few people knew about it. Actually, the only person she remembered going into detail about it was Simon. She mentioned it vaguely to Erin and Dean, but neither would’ve told anyone… would they? Did Lauren know her step father? That would make more sense…. She was spiraling. She managed to gasp out, ”Distraction. I need a distraction.” She reached out a hand to grasp his wrist, though she tried to do it lightly to downplay her desperation. ”Do you have anything?”

Lauren was there? Dean raised an eyebrow and fought the urge to crane his neck to look for her. She was something of a weakness of his, but he knew how she got under people’s skin. She must have said something to Livvy. He nodded knowingly, an understanding expression painted across his features. He’d seek Lauren out later, assuming neither of them got kicked out of the party.

A wicked sort of grin broke out on his face when Livvy said she needed a distraction. A better person may have told her to slow down and offered to talk it out with her. Dean had seldom been accused of being a good person. He reached out to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear, tracing his finger down her jaw to her chin, applying a gentle pressure until he could look deeply into her eyes. He bit his lower lip, he loved this: being wanted- needed- that little moment of toying with someone before giving them what they needed- wanted. A guy had to get his kicks somewhere.

As if he couldn’t hold it back anymore, a bright grin spread across his face and he laughed. It was well practiced, looked natural. He wondered if Livvy would see through it, or if the distance between them that past several years would have made her forget his tells. ”Of course I do,” He said, tone warm and familiar, ”I’ve not changed that much.” He usually had something on him. More often than not now that he’d started seeing Jade, though the pills weren’t his preference. He jerked his head to the side, silently beckoning her to follow him. There weren’t an abundance of places to get some privacy here, really. There was a line at the bathroom, but he’d never let that stop him before.

”Hey, thanks,” He said to someone in line for the bathroom as he gently pushed Livvy in front of him, absolutely not subtly entering behind her while ignoring the protests from the line as he locked the door. He flashed Livvy a grin as he went digging in his pocket, pulling out a small bag with a few pills inside. ”Take your pick,” He said, handing the goods over to Olivia.

There was already heat in her face thanks to the alcohol in her system, but it flared a little hotter as Dean reached out to touch her. Their close proximity, his willingness to assist… It brought her back to those days.

If she closed her eyes, she could almost believe that they were back in the AP fine art classroom. The lights off so no one would know they were there. Only the music was different, louder compared to the jams they would play on their phone speakers, loud enough to hear, but quiet enough that no one else could. Then there was the heat, the rush, the paint. There was almost always some kind of colorful media on their skin but never on their clothes.

Heat filled her core and she found herself smiling at him. When he gestured for her to follow, she did so, sliding her hand into his so he could more easily lead her. Her pulse sped as he brought her back to the hall, put stopped at the bathroom, pushing her inside before shutting the door behind them and locking it. He dug through his pocket and pulled out a bag with different colored pills inside. She pinched a familiar light pink one between her fingers, stamped with a heart.

It was going to take some time to hit, which was a bummer, but of the bunch it was the one that would work best for what she needed it for. She popped it into her mouth with a smirk. ”Thanks, she said with a content sigh.

Dean watched her with all the intensity of a hungry tiger; his eyes only left hers to scan over her body. She looked good. Very good. ”It’s what I’m here for,” He replied. Hopefully his attempt at humor wouldn’t be lost on her. Being here, it reminded him of the way things used to be. There was no bad blood between them, just a stifling distance and the reminder of everything that they were when they were younger and more foolish.

”Hey, uh,” He started, putting on an act so he seemed a little bashful, as if this wasn’t a totally calculated move, ”It’s really good to see you again.” He reached out and let his hand graze her shoulder, then traced down her arm. He was testing the waters, seeing what she’d let him get away with. They’d always had so much chemistry, if he could just get a spark going, maybe they could ignite something here. Then this night wouldn’t be a waste.

She smiled, a little shyly herself. ”It’s good to see you too, Dean. His hand was warm on her shoulder, leaving a fiery trail down her arm. She almost hissed, but not in pain. At how good it felt. Lauren’s touch had been… short, calculated, foreign. Dean’s touch was heat, fire, and familiar. It brought to mind a painting she had done in high school she titled Passion in Paint after their first time together. It was a splash of orange, red, yellow, and black with hints of gold.

For a moment, she thought of Jade. How they were together and she shouldn’t be here. Shouldn’t be allowing this but… Dean was a big boy. He could make his own choices. Plus… what did she owe Jade anyway? She was on Gabriella’s side of that mess. She reached out a hand, lacing her fingers through his free hand and tugged him a little closer. With her other arm, the one he had run his hand down, she reached up, moving a loose strand of his hair from his forehead. A gesture she used to do often. His hair never stayed put.

Dean smirked, allowing Livvy to pull him closer, relishing in the way her hand brushed against his face when she tried to brush his hair back into place. It was all so natural. So right. He couldn’t help but think of all the times they’d snuck off during parties and found a nice quiet place to enjoy one another. There was a comfort in familiarity, and a desire that came from years of distance. Where Olivia used to be routine, now she was an old flame to be rekindled. Dean had always been good at starting fires.

He dropped his free hand to her lower back, pulling her right up against him. He paused, then, scanning her eyes for resistance, hesitation. Maybe it was better to let her make that move, then he couldn’t be accused of being too forward. ”I've missed you,” He mumbled. It wasn’t a total lie; he missed her desperately every time he saw a nice picture of her on social media. Something about not having her to call “his” anymore made the thought of her so much more tantalizing.

He readjusted the hand clasped firmly to Olivia’s, pulling her hand up to plant a gentle kiss upon it. This was all part of the fun; did she miss him? Did she think of him? Did she want him? Those were all questions he wanted answered, and he knew he could work them out of her if he worked at it a little. He was tempted to find that spot along her jaw, nibble there for a moment, but he refrained. The ball was in her court. There was no denying what he wanted out of this interaction, and he only hoped he’d read her correctly.

As he pulled her close, she was enveloped in the heat of him. She tilted her head up to meet his eyes, her long lashes fluttering slightly. This was what she had wanted from Lauren. Not… She pushed the thought away. She wasn’t going to let Lauren ruin any more of her fun. She tilted her head to the side, her hair falling back over her shoulder with the movement. ”I missed you, too, she purred. And it was true.

He was almost as constant in her life as Simon at least in high school. After they broke up and stopped being around one another, it felt like a hold had been carved into her chest for a while. Then it didn’t ache as much. Felt more like missing a finger. Odd with phantom pains, but manageable. She placed one hand on his chest, feeling the rapid beating of his heart, matching hers. ”I couldn’t even tell you how much.

One thing she loved about when they were together like this was the… tension. The pressure that would build. It was almost a game to see who would break first. ”Should I…” She bit her lower lip. She couldn’t believe these words were coming out of her mouth. ”Should I show you?”

Dean couldn’t help the smile that formed on his face- it was probably the first genuine one of the night. Olivia just got him, and she was good at throwing back whatever he tossed her way. This game they played had been a constant for almost as long as they’d known one other. Put them in a room long enough, and eventually they’d start to see if the other would crack.

There was, also, the building pressure of the people outside the bathroom door- quickly becoming restless. Dean didn’t care, but he didn’t want it to kill Livvy’s mood.

But when she asked if she should show him how she’d missed him, well, that was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. His breath caught in his chest, and before he knew it he was the one breaking, ”Oh, yes,” Then quickly, he added, ”Yes, please… If you’re so inclined.” He leaned in closer, if that were even possible, so his lips were almost brushing against her’s, ”I would love nothing more.”

Livvy could hear the people outside. She knew it was only a matter of time before Erin herself knocked down the door...but she couldn’t find it in herself to care. It was only her and Dean. There was a… voice in the very back of her mind who said this was wrong. That she shouldn’t be here with Dean. She kept that voice in the back of her mind.

She laughed a little under her breath at his acceptance. Her own breath caught as he came closer, his lips brushing hers. When he spoke she could feel his breath on her skin, smell the alcohol on his breath. She let them hover there for a few heartbeats before she broke. She couldn’t take it.

She needed him.

She closed that bit of space between them, wrapping her arms around his neck, pulling him to her and kissing him gently. Gently, of course, because though she gave in… they both knew there was more to burn. And she lit that match… by gently biting his lower lip.

Livvy kissed him, and the kindling caught. Dean kissed her back, hands resting, for a moment, on her hips, pulling her in. Sometimes it didn’t feel enough to be close, pressed together, you wanted to melt together. Couldn’t be close enough.

And he took her bait, deepening the kiss, relishing the taste of whatever she’d been drinking and the scent of her. Livvy had always smelled nice; it was a little different,a little more mature than the candy-sweet smells of her high school days, but still certainly her. It was the paint, probably, cutting through the vanilla, that he picked out as being her scent. He never could smell fresh paint without thinking of her. She was, in all, perhaps just as intoxicating as the alcohol. Dean let his hands wander as they kissed- exploring, gripping fabric, never quite digging in though. Instead, he firmly planted his hands on her backside to hoist her up onto the edge of the sink, tracing kisses from her mouth down to her jaw, slowly kissing until he’d found the right spot, then gently nipping at the skin there.

A soft sound slipped from her as he kissed her back, his hands on her hips. This close, she could smell cinnamon with something a little spicier underneath. When he took her bait and deepened their kiss, she found it wasn’t enough. She wanted more, more, more of him.

Then she was lifted, sitting on the edge of the sink. He trailed kisses from the corner of her mouth, to her jaw. Each kiss was a flame on her skin and she gasped. She ran a hand up into his hair, encouraging him until he found the spot. It was her undoing.

She closed her eyes and--with the muffled sound of the music from a different part of the house--she was brought back to that room in high school. Sitting on one of the work tables and exploring one another. Another sound slipped from her a little louder, a little more desperate. Without looking, she found herself undoing the buttons of his shirt, her fingers shaking slightly as she went.

Dean smirked against her skin, hands flitting across her body still, as if desperately trying to find purchase. He broke contact with her as she went to unbutton his shirt, taking half a step back to undo the buttons himself, and casting the shirt aside. ”This one too?” He asked, almost teasingly, as he lifted his white undershirt up and over his head.

It was almost incredible, really, the way the body remembers all the little things. A nip at the neck, a hand at just the right part of the thigh, that sloppy way you kiss when you’ve gone past the point of caring about neatness.

Dean let his hands rest on Livvy’s waist for a moment, pulling her closer to him again, then reached to tug at Livvy’s top. They could remove it if they decided, but for the moment he would be happy just tugging it down and out of the way.

Never in her life had Livvy been happier that high-low skirts were a thing as his hand trailed up her thighs, pushing back the fabric. They were warm and rough from his time in the kitchens. She reached as he pulled away but stopped once she realized what he was doing. She bit her lip as he removed his shirts exposing the slight muscle hidden beneath them. Then he was on her again, their kisses more heated, their touches hungrier.

His hands were on her waist, his thumbs reaching the tender skin beneath her breasts and at first, she hadn’t noticed. At first, it hadn’t bothered her. But then… No one wants you, his voice echoed in her mind. No one, but me. Then it wasn’t Dean’s hands but her step father’s. Gripping her, holding her to him, touching her…

She pushed Dean backwards. Hard. Her breaths came quickly and were shallow like she couldn’t get enough air fast enough. It took a moment to register what she had done. ”Sorry, I-” She started to say, a hand going to her waist. She was going to be sick.

She pushed from the sink, legs giving out beneath her causing her knees to smack into the floor, but she made it just in time. Her eyes burned, body trembling as she retched. She was dizzy, she was panicked, she was embarrassed, she was numb, she was overstimulated… it was all too much.

Dean was taken aback by being pushed; he hadn’t expected it, and narrowly avoided falling back himself. He caught himself, but that didn’t stop his head from hitting the wall off the small New York bathroom behind him. Irritation and embarrassment flared up in his chest, but Olivia was apologizing, and she quickly bolted to the toilet.

Then an awkwardness hung on Dean’s shoulders like a weight, pulling him down to the bottom of some unknown emotional harbor. He wasn’t sure what to do, so he squatted down close to Livvy and put a tentative hand on her shoulder. He hated vulnerability, never knew what to do with it. ”Hey,” He said, more mumbling than actually speaking, ”It's okay.” He questioned if he should do more, like try to hold her hair back or something, but if he were being honest he was a little grossed out by the vomiting, so instead he awkwardly patted her back for a moment before deciding to get his t-shirt back on. Maybe she’d had more to drink that he’d thought, or the drugs and the alcohol were a bad combination.

She came up for air, a cold sweat on her brow. She couldn’t look at him. She didn’t want to see the face he was making. She could only imagine disgust, pity, worry… She wanted to have a good time. To not let Lauren affect her and she failed. ”Sorry,” She said, barely more than a whisper. ”Lauren just,” She ran a hand through her hair, pulling it back from her face as the room spun around her, ”Got into my head. He got back into my head.” She shuddered as a wave threatened to rise. ”Just… sorry.”

When Livvy mentioned Lauren getting into her head, it all clicked. Anger flared in his mind: of course it was because of Lauren. She’d said as much before, but Dean hadn’t thought it was like that. ”Don’t apologize for that,” He said, shaking out how button up and draping it over Olivia’s shoulders. It wasn’t much, but it was a layer to hide under until she felt safe again, ”Don't even apologize for that.”

But this wasn’t something he was equipped to deal with, nor did he think his presence would be particularly comforting. And he didn’t want to be the person doing this part, if he were being honest. He sighed, running a hand roughly through his hair. ”Stay put,” It was a command, not a request. He slipped out of the bathroom, shooting a sharp look at the impatient souls waiting just outside the door, ”Be patient.”, made a beeline to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water, and went to look for someone that might be better at helping Livvy through this than he would be. Almost anyone would be a better option, really, but he ran into Erin first. ”Hey,” He interjected, not really caring if he was interrupting something, then he leaned in close to whisper, ”Livvy’s having a breakdown in the bathroom,” He passed the water to Erin, intending for her to take it to Livvy; he knew she didn’t like him, but he also knew she’d take care of Livvy. ”Lauren said something to her. I think about her stepdad.” He was sure that would be enough.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Dean Sun
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Olivia Eriksen
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The Artist | Attire | #F1D03A
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Erin Monaghan
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The Bartender | Attire | hex:#800000
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Livvy barely registered his words but felt his button down go around her. Cinnamon filled her nostrils and she found it actually helped. She reached up to flush, but didn’t trust the strength of her legs enough to stand up. Instead, she pushed herself backwards, scooting on her butt until she reached the wall behind her. Her head still swam whether from panic or the alcohol, she wasn’t sure. She knew it wasn’t the drugs though. Those wouldn’t have had enough time to dissolve into her system. A shame really… she had been looking forward to the high.

She curled into a ball, her arms on her knees and her forehead resting on her arms. She closed her eyes and let the smell of Cinnamon ground her here. She would need to thank Dean for his shirt when she saw him next. Knowing him, he likely wouldn’t be back. He wasn’t good with this sort of thing. It was part of why they didn’t work. There was so much fire between them, but when the high ended and she needed tenderness… there wasn’t often much of it to share with her. Though… the glimpses of it, when he really tried, those memories she still savored. Maybe he was a good match for Jade. Tenderness didn’t seem to be her thing either from what Gabriella had told her.

She felt the shirt sliding back, exposing her shoulders and made her shiver. She slid the shirt on instead and savored the warmth. Placing her head back on her forearms, she sat, waiting.

Time passed without Livvy noticing until there was someone talking to her. Someone was in front of her. She lifted her head and found a familiar pair of hazel eyes. Erin.

Erin had made her way towards the hallway that led to the bathroom and bedrooms, after Dean had found her and informed her of what happened. God dammit...That fucking bitch-, Erin thought to herself as her eyes were anchored ahead of her. She needed to go check up on Livvy. That was where her priorities were, and always had been. Checking up on those who needed help, before succumbing to her own emotions. After she made it past the crowds of people and into that small hallway, Erin passed by a few stragglers before standing in front of the bathroom door. At first she gave a gentle knock to alert her presence, and then called out softly to see if she was allowed in.

Assuming the music must have drowned her voice out, Erin took a deep breath, cleared her throat and slowly opened the bathroom door, quickly slipping inside as she closed the door behind her. In front of her was Livvy, curled up in the corner. Erin's chest immediately tightened as she could feel her blood begin to boil. Lauren would get what's coming to her later, she reminded herself. Even though it wasn't said with words, Erin could tell by how Dean acted, it was enough. Plus, with what Erin knew about Livvy’s past, it was enough for her to piece together.

Carefully, Erin made her way over to Livvy, slowly crouching down in front of her, "Dean uhm...Dean found me and..." Erin paused for a moment, taking another heavy breath before she repositioned herself, so that she was sitting next to her friend this time; but giving her enough space. She knew what kind of state Olivia was in, and the last thing she needed to do was make it even worse than it already was.
With a gentle and soft voice she spoke back up again, "...He just said I needed to come check up on you..." Erin side eyed her friend for a moment, "If...If you don't wanna go into detail, you don't have you...But I am here for you, okay? And...You're safe, I promise." Erin gave her friend a small, but genuine smile as she spoke. Erin meant it all, she wouldn't pry if Livvy didn't want her to, and she sure as hell wasn't going to let anything else happen to her or anyone else tonight if she could help it.

Livvy blinked a few times, coming back to herself and the situation she found herself in. ”Oh I…” She looked around, realizing she was still in the bathroom and amazed that no one else had come to drag her from the room. What with the line that she assumed was still outside. How much time had passed. ”Dean. Right.” She remembered what they were doing before… what happened and she felt heat creep into her face.

”Uh… Lauren.” She ran a hand through her hair, frustrated by how difficult it was to form words, how slow they were. ”My- He’s back.” She hoped, based on her state, Erin would know who she was talking about. She tapped on her temple. ”In here.” She wrapped her arms around herself again. ”Messed me up.”

Erin sat there patiently with her back up against the wall as silence filled the room. She had anticipated waiting forever if that's what it took. She had promised Livvy she'd be safe, and she'd wait for god knows how long it would take for her friend to be okay. So Erin was a bit surprised when Livvy already spoke up after a few minutes. Staggering to explain what happened.

But considering from the look on her face alone, Erin had pretty much figured what happened. Her own chest tightened as some of her own memories from a past abusive relationship of her own came back. Erin hadn't ever really told anyone about it, other than Soren. But that was only because he ended up driving to the emergency room after Erin called him and explained how she fucked up and did something stupid. Jaimie got in her head time and time again. And all it took was one final push and she nearly went over the edge and it almost cost Erin her life.

Silence had fallen over the room again for a moment. Erin tried thinking of something to say. Anything at all to keep Livvy from feeling like she shouldn't have mentioned it. Erin swallowed hard before she looked back over at her friend, "I Uhm...I never really told anyone but...Well..Soren knew but, only because I did something stupid." there was a small chuckle to Erin's voice. More so out of awkwardness than finding the subject matter funny. "I don't know if you remember him but...Jaimie? Jaimie Blackburn?" Erin took a deep breath, her hands shook for a moment before she fumbled with them in her lap as she continued, "Turned out he was a major dick...I just didn't realize until I was too deep in some shit and...I dunno. I guess I'm just trying to say that I know that some men can be complete and utter shit. And I'm sorry you had to deal with all of that..." Erin vaguely gestured at nothing as she spoke.

Erin took another deep breath, "I guess...I just know what it's like to...To have someone else's voice and words echo in your head. Sure they're gone but...the trauma they caused isn't. It's still gonna fucking hurt and creep up on you when you least expect it." Erin took a moment to look back at Livvy, gauging how she was doing. "But what they did...what he did to you, and what Jaimie did to me...It wasn't either of our faults. Those damn pesky voices will always try telling us the opposite but, no one deserves to be treated like shit. Especially by people who should love them..." Erin lifted her hand for a moment, wanting to give Livvy a hug, but stopped herself short. "You just gotta remind yourself, that he can't hurt you anymore. And that you are one hell of a badass bitch, no matter what anyone else says." she flashed Liv a small, gentle smile before looking back out at the rest of the bathroom. Her head leaning back against the cold stone tile that adorned the bathroom walls.

Livvy listened intently, nodding as Erin shared her story. She vaguely remembered Jaimie Blackburn. She tried to remember her first impression of him, but everything was fuzzy. Coming back into focus slowly like a polaroid. Only, she was sure if she started shaking herself like one of those pictures, Erin would have an aneurism. But maybe they’d both laugh and chase the shadows of their pasts away together like they usually did. Though, Livvy didn’t feel like she could remember laughter right now so maybe not.

She reached out, gently touching Erin’s hand, pausing once she made contact with her skin and then slowly placed her hand into her friend’s. She was trying to comfort her friend without words, though she wasn’t entirely certain it worked.

She felt moisture in her eyes as she listened to Erin talk about how she was a badass bitch and everything. A part of her wanted to laugh because it was such an Erin thing to say. She watched Erin’s arm come up, hesitantly, but it didn’t come down around her like she had expected. She scooted a little closer to her and laid her head on her shoulder. It seemed everything was coming back to the way things smelled. Wine on Lauren’s breath, cinnamon on Dean’s shirt, and the smell of jasmine and leather from Erin. Two of those things were familiar and comforting. She found herself closing her eyes, feeling like she could sleep for days. ”Dean ok?” She found herself asking. Though she was sure Erin was going to say something like ”The big baby is fine. Don’t worry about him.” She wasn’t a fan of him. Then she said, ”You ok?” Mostly referring to what had happened to her years back and not finding Livvy the way she was.

A small smile had formed on Erin's face when she felt Liv's hand intertwine with her's. That was the only confirmation she needed to know that Liv was doing better, relaxing into the contact as Livvy placed her head on Erin's shoulder. There were a few more minutes of silence until Erin heard her ask about Dean, and then herself. A small smirk formed on Erin's face again, "Dean? Yeah. He was in a rush, bit anxious but...He'll be fine." Erin gave a small nod for a moment.

Erin gave a small shrug of her shoulders, "I dunno…" she answered softly, knowing exactly what Livvy was implying. "I'm doing better, I guess? I...I don't really know how to explain it." Erin gave a brief shrug, before looking back over at Liv, "But how are you doing..?" a genuine look of concern was etched across Erin's face, as well as a certain tone in her voice was clearly showing she was worried about Liv.

Livvy thought for a moment then said, ”Don’t know.” It wasn’t that she wasn’t ok. It had been the first attack in a long time and she was drunk. It heightened some things and dulled others. So she gave her own shrug justling her friend a little with the movement since she was leaning on her. She gave Erin’s hand a reassuring squeeze and added, ”Will be.”

She sat in silence for a moment, eyes closed and just… being present. She remembered when they used to do this in high school after long days. It was one of the only times Erin ever really sat still. It was hard to get her to do that when she was using her as a model for one of her art pieces. But when one of them was struggling they would just…sit. Usually by an open window or door to the outside for a nice breeze. And then life would catch up again and they would be moving.

”We should go.” she said, hearing the crowd on the other side of the door get even roudier. ”You’ll lose the door.”

Erin gave a small nod when Livvy said she wasn't but, but that she would be, and that's all Erin could ask for. As long as Livvy would be okay, that's what was important. She gently nudged Liv back in return, with a small wink added in. The two sat in silence for a moment, just letting life happen for a moment. It was small moments like this that Erin missed. When she could just be, without any everyday life stresses and concerns. The calm before the storm.

It was only when Livvy said that they should get going, that Erin opened her own eyes. Nodding slowly, "Yeah well, they do that, they'll owe me a new fucking door." she quipped back with a small chuckle. After a moment, Erin realized what kind of shape Livvy truly was in. She'd have a hard time walking, and Erin sure as hell wasn't going to make her try. Not after the bullshit she just went through. Slowly getting to her feet, Erin turned back to face Liv. Gently crouching down in front of the blond, "Alright...This is gonna be a bit weird but, I'm gonna have to carry you, okay?" she asked with raised eyebrows, looking over her shoulder for a moment. "I don't wanna sound like a jackass but, right now? You'd be like a newborn fawn on a hardwood floor..."

Livvy couldn’t help but smile. And she definitely couldn’t argue. She wouldn’t trust her legs either right now. So, uncurling herself even further, she reached out to wrap her arms around Erin’s neck, careful not to hold too tightly. Then she slid forward so her chest was flush against Erin’s back. When she was ready she said, ”Ok.”

Erin patiently watched as Livvy slowly got to her feet as well as she could, offering some assistance if she needed any. Erin had turned around to offer her back, it was unconventional yes, but it'd be the easiest way of carrying Livvy without making things too awkward. Last thing they'd need is people getting the wrong idea, even if they did, so what. it was none of their concern. Erin waited and kept herself grounded firmly as she felt Livvy wrap her arms around Erin's neck, Erin nodded and carefully looped her arms around Livvy's legs to help support her, and held on a bit tight as she slowly rose to her full height. Turning her head slightly to look at Liv, "You doing alright back there, Spider-Monkey?" she offered with a grin. This oddly reminded Erin of the time back in highschool when Liv messed up her ankle and needed to be carried. They did the exact thing back then, and got plenty of odd looks then, doubt it'd be any different this time. Oh well, people could mind their damned business.

Livvy’s response was a swift peck on Erin’s cheek as she turned her face towards her. Well as much as she could with Livvy being on her back. ”Thanks.” Then she settled against Erin’s back feeling safe and cared for and for the first time that day she thought, Fuck you, Eustis. I am wanted, but people who aren’t selfish disgusting shit lords like you. She closed her eyes, letting her hair cover her face so she wouldn’t be seen. She didn’t care if the people she cared about saw her like this but a whole crowd made her feel panicked.

Erin couldn't help but blush ever so slightly when she felt Livvy plant a small kiss on her cheek. Clearing her throat, Erin took a deep breath, "Don't mention it. For you? You know I'd do just about anything, so...No need to thank me, hun." she said with a small smile before turning back to face the bathroom door. "Alright fuckers.." she muttered, before opening the door. There was a group of at least six people waiting outside in the hallway, all of which gave the two an odd look. "Yeah well mind your fucking business, alright? Or fuck off." she bit back.

Hearing Erin telling the horde outside the bathroom to fuck off, Livvy bit her lip, hiding the beginnings of a smile. She brushed her thumb against where Erin’s skin was at her neck in approval. A sign she was becoming herself again.

At the sudden sensation on the back of her neck, Erin immediately straightened up some, clearing her throat once more. God dammit..., she thought to herself. Just like that, Liv managed to get back into her head, of course she did. She always did. But now wasn't the time for that. Erin was brought back to reality when she caught sight of motion in front of her.

The group made way for Erin, who gave them a small nod and began to make her way out from the hallway and into the main room. Looking for a place for Livvy to sit, allow herself to breathe again and be left the fuck alone. There was the den, but it seemed busy with people still playing pool and the other games available. Her eyes scanned the room, before landing on one of the couches, thankfully they were entirely unoccupied. Erin passed through the mass of dancing folk, and people who were standing and talking.

Managing to sidestep and walk around others, even with Livvy still on her back, Erin managed to finesse her way through the crowd. Ignoring the looks she received. It was only when they finally arrived to the couch, that Erin finally turned back around and let Livvy down. When she felt her grip loosen and finally slip away, Erin turned back on her heels. Giving the blond a small wink, "I'm gonna get you some water and, you just sit tight, okay?" Erin quickly disappeared for barely a minute, quickly returning with an unopened bottle of water. She took a seat next to Livvy for a moment, opening the bottle of water and finally handing it to her, "That should help." she said with a small smile. Looking around the room for a moment, looking back at Livvy, "You sure you're going to be okay? I don't...I don't wanna leave you alone if you're not feeling entirely fine to be on your own.." the look on her face was genuine and sympathetic, and she'd be damned if anything else happened to Liv during this party. Or Erin would actually throw hands with someone.

Once Erin stopped moving, Livvy could sense a large, comfy object behind her and with about as much grace as a belly flop diver, she released herself from Erin’s back and dropped onto the cushions. She pushed herself back until she was leaning against the back of the couch and waited for Erin to return with the bottle of water. When she did, she gladly took it from her, savoring the cold beneath her finger tips before she downed almost the whole thing. When Erin asked her if she was going to be ok if left alone, she nearly found herself asking Erin to stay… But this was her party. There were people to see and things to do. She couldn’t hog her friend all night so instead, she gave her another peck on the cheek and said, ”I’ll be fine. Thanks to you.” Then she nudged her friend on the arm and said, ”Go. I’m sure Evie would like another dance.” Just like in high school when their period of stillness was over, life was calling them back.

Erin gave a small nod when Livvy said she could go, and how she'd be fine. But Erin knew enough that she was simply saying it put her mind at ease. A small chuckle escaped her lips, "Oh please. Like anyone in their right mind would want to dance with me again. Cuz I totally know how to dance." she mused. With a small shake of her head, Erin sighed. Looking back at Liv, she gave the blond a small smile and leaned down.

Gently placing a gentle kiss on her forehead before pulling back away. "I'll come check up on you in just a bit, okay? You're priority number one." Erin said as she gently squeezed Liv's hand before turning back out to face the crowd. She had far too many things to keep track of, and attend to. And god damn if she knew what she was going to get out of the way first.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Julian Davies Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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xSimon RizzoJulian Daviesx
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"Best of Bros"

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Once Simon was sure Soren wasn’t going to go after Lauren (at least for now), Simon headed to a different room. Cam, Robyn, and Livvy had all vanished into the crowd of the party. So, it was time for him to go in search of his other best friend. Julian.

He found him in a den of sorts, a pool table in front of him. It seemed a game had already been started though there was no one else in the room with him. ”I heard playing with yourself could make you go blind.” He said jokingly as he walked up to his friend. He saw a strawberry liquor bottle on the side of the table and he picked it up, quivering an eyebrow. ”Dude, since when do you drink strawberry liquor?”

Julian lifted his shoulders. ”First of all.., don’t knock it till you try it. Second, desperate times…” he pointed out the empty beer bottles on the side.

Simon shook his head and picked up a cue stick. ”If you want, we can finish this game out. I could hit solids. Or we could just start over.”

Julian threw the white ball he had picked from the floor up and caught it again, just playing with it. ”Fine you can be solids. The wonder twin picking up where the other left off.” Julian put the white ball back on the table and lined up his shot again, making sure not to make it bounce like before. ”But since you have a head start, I’ll make the first move.”
He made his attempt, but it didn’t hit right, and he was left with the same amount as when he started. ”Are these damned cues skew or something?”

Simon paused at the “wonder twin” comment. ”Livvy was here? Where’d she go?” He smirked slightly when Julian didn’t quite make the shot he was hoping for. ”Sure, Sure, Sure,” he said, ”It’s the cue. Not the buzzed guy holding it.” He bent over the table, aiming for the solid red to the left, hoping he could hit it just right that it would slide into the corner pocket.

It did not. He swore under his breath and examined his own cue. ”Though… you may be onto something.”

”I tell you, it’s these cues, man” Julian used his own to point in the direction in which Livvy had disappeared, chasing Lauren. Then he finally made his first successful hit of the night, smiling with pride.
”Don’t blame me for letting her go, but she was looking at Lauren with hazy eyes.” He missed the next one, but actually knocked in one of the solids.
”Jeez, I’m on the wrong team here. So yeah, Livvy.. Lauren… I guess steering into the skid can be a tactic too?”

Simon frowned. ”Livvy and Lauren?” He lined up another shot, nearly knocking in a striped, but totally missed the hole. Concern started to rise in him and he thought about going after Livvy, but he promised her space. Besides, she was a grown woman. She could take care of herself… right? He did add, ”You didn’t stop her? Anything involving Lauren is likely to end in chaos.”

”Look, don’t give me that. Livvy is as grown as you and me, probably more now I think of it. If she wants to go looking for trouble, she can find it in more ways than one at this party.”

”Good point.” Simon rubbed some chalk on the end of the cue, waiting for his next turn. Changing the subject a little he said, ”Robyn and I came together.” He wanted to know what his friend thought. He wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. He’s been with other girls since high school but they never lasted and he wasn’t with Robyn. They were just friends. And he’d never put her in a position she wasn’t ready for after Nate.

Julian smiled at his friend as he had this unsure look in his eyes. ”So, am I supposed to read something into this?” To be honest, Julian was not sure what answer he was hoping for. Robyn was someone he always liked, and one of the people in his life that was a little bit more together than most, even with the passing away of Nate. He had to be an asshole though, to be anything less than happy for both if Simon and Robyn would end up together.

Simon rubbed the back of his neck. ”I don’t know, man. I guess… I like her a lot. She’s smart, funny, gorgeous… but since Nate passed so recently, I’m giving her the space to process it all, you know?” He glanced at the table. ”Your turn by the way.” He placed the chalk on the side of the table before continuing. ”But I do want to tell her I like her.” He laughed uncomfortably. ”Yikes. I sound like I’m in high school again talking about Cam.” He ran a hand through his hair. All fidgets. A quirk he picked up from hanging around with Livvy too much.

Julian looked at Simon, sizing him up on his plans with Robyn. ”Maybe you can ask her to hold hands with you on the cab ride home.” a big smile on Julian’s face, happily teasing his friend. He walked around the table looking for his next shot, finally finding one that seemed doable. He bent over in concentration, hit the ball and missed it by a hair. ”Oh crap..”

Simon let out a laugh. ”Tough luck, man.”

Julian went to stand next to his friend and poked him in the ribs. ”Look man, if you’re going to wait for her to get over Nate before making a move you can prepare for a dry spell of a decade. I tell you, not everyone is going to wait for that, not in Robyn’s case.” He waited for Simon to make his next move. There were a few options, so Julian did not expect to get to his turn again soon.

”Don’t just tell her you like her. She will say it’s too early, and you’re going to be friend-zoned for life. You already have Livvy, you don’t need a second.” Julian loved his friend, but a little more action would not be the worst idea.

Simon puzzled over the table for a minute, noting the remaining balls in play. There was one that would be a straight shot to the corner, but only if he hit it from the right angle. He made his way around the table, lining up the shot. He took a deep breath, nudged the cue forward into the ball, and watched as the ball slowly rolled forward…and landed in the pocket.

He let out a Whoop! before turning to his friend with a big grin. And responded to his earlier comment now that he sunk his shot. He pointed a finger at him. ”Livvy doesn’t count. She’s practically my sister.” He had once thought of her that way back when he was just starting to like girls, but then he realized she could be quite the brat when she wanted to be and decided they weren’t the right fit for one another. Besides… he didn’t want to lose his best friend.

“Finally, I was beginning to lose hope for us in this game.” Julian actually sighed with relief. “I’m not saying you want anything more from Livvy, but no action would put Robyn in the same position.”

His eye was caught by Gabriella who apparently dropped her bag. He noticed Lauren walking away from her and by the look in Gabriella’s eyes, she had gotten the full load. However, he had a difficult time to feel sorry for the girl. She had always been a bad influence on Jade and it’s because of her he was busted with drugs in his car. He saw the anger and shock in her eyes, but broke eye contact. If she used her stare to reach out for help, she was barking up the wrong tree. His friend pulled his attention back to the game.

Simon looked around the table for his next shot. ”You make a good point though,” He saw another that could work, but he’d run the risk of sinking the 8 ball. ”So you’re saying I shouldn’t just tell her I like her, but put some action behind it.” It wasn’t a question. He just wanted to make sure he understood what his friend was saying. There was this party hosted by the shop’s book club that was supposed to happen in a few weeks. Maybe he’d ask her to go with him. It wouldn’t be as wild as this, but he was told it would be a good time.

Julian shook his head. His friend needed some pressure otherwise he would still wait months before doing something. ”I tell you what, let me give you a goal post. If you don’t ask out Robyn on a date to actually happen in the next 2 weeks, I will.” Julian was surprised at how serious his suggestion was. He had always liked Robyn and the thought of asking her out had crossed his mind before. But he did not want to cockblock his best friend intentionally.
”Do we have a deal?”

Simon raised his eyebrows in surprise. He hadn’t expected Julian to give up such an ultimatum. If his friend liked Robyn, it would be fair to give him a shot, too. But… He didn’t want to miss his chance. He reached out a hand to his friend for a shake. ”Deal.”
Julian had a big smile on his face, as he definitely enjoyed a bit of competition. Especially if it would help out his friend.

He found his next move and went to strike. That’s when he noticed Lauren leaving a stunned and pained looking Gabriella. He missed. He frowned, but couldn’t bring himself to say anything other than a soft swear at scratching.
Gabriella and Simon had always been like passing ships. She was friends with Livvy, he was friends with Livvy, but neither really interacted. Though he did have some short, choice words for her once he found out she helped Livvy down a darker path in high school. Even if Livvy said it was more Jade’s fault Gabriella was on the path. Or… is that what she said? He shook his head, going back to the game. Lauren was on a warpath tonight and it seemed Gabriella had somehow stepped on a landmine. He didn’t want to be in the blast zone unless he had to.

”Your turn,” He muttered, eyes following Lauren. Livvy wasn’t with her which wasn’t a good sign. He’d have to find his friend later… or confront Lauren about it. Right now, he wanted to finish a game with his friend that he’s been missing. ”I’d go for the green one.”

Julian looked around the table. There were some options, but since his skill was so deplorable this particular evening he was unsure about any of it.
”Really? You don’t think that one is in the way?” Julian pointed out the orange one in the middle.
”Oh..okay, I see. So via the long rail. You have that faith in me, to make that shot?”
Julia walked around to where Simon was standing and put the cue over his thumb and index finger. He took his shot and the cue ball bounced off the long rail, past the green ball, bounced off the short rail and hit the striped red into the pocket.
Julian raised his eyebrows, stunned by what happened. ”Well… Would you look at that.”

With a triumphant step he got ready for the next shot. His short moment of luck made him cocky. ”Okay, here we go. Green ball, right corner pocket.” He concentrated, planning his shot to hit one rail before knocking in the green ball easily. He pulled back and knocked the cue ball hard. Being the expert he was, he did hit the rail he planned on. And he did hit the green ball perfectly. However, the green ball then hit the 8-ball, tilting it into the side pocket.
”Wait..shit! No, no,no, that doesn’t count!”

Simon let out a laugh. ”Man, isn’t that game?” He thought a moment. ”I could give you the out but I…” he trailed off, looking back towards Lauren. ”I should probably find out what happened to Livvy.” He placed the cue onto the table and gave his friend a quick hug. ”We need to hang out more, man. You should come by the shop. Or I guess maybe I should come by the bar.”

Julian looked a bit defeated, still looking at the corner pocket. ”I...yeah, I guess that’s game.” When Simon mentioned Livvy, Julian finally looked up at him. ”Uhm.. Yeah, sure. You go find Livvy, I’m just gonna go and get some air. It’s really hot in here.”
He put the cue on the table. ”Hey, if you want to take Robyn home later, just let me know, I’ll make sure Livvy gets home safe.” Then he leaned in closer and whispered to his friend. ”And if things get ehm… frisky, safety first. Let me know if you need the talk.

Simon watched his friend, concern wrinkling his brow. He opened his mouth to ask if his friend was alright when he spoke again. Simon found himself laughing again. ”I think I’m good on the talk, but thanks.” He gave his friend a pat on the shoulder, then gave it a good squeeze. ”I’m here if you need anything ok?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen
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olivia erikson
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After Erin’s departure, Livvy found herself staring blankly at the wall opposite her. She was careful to gaze above eye level lest anyone mistake her blank stare as direct eye contact. Phantom fingers tickled at her skin and it took a lot of concentration not to itch or swat them away. She momentarily thought about seeking out Dean to apologize, but she couldn’t muster the energy or motivation to move. Maybe she could go find Adonis? No, there’s that moving thing again. Her fingers twitched, wanting to wrap around a pencil, the handle of a brush, or a stick of chalk, but her bag was not with her. Where did I leave that anyway?

She was so lost in her thoughts, she didn’t notice someone had approached her until they were sitting beside her.

Evie had gotten herself another drink and was just about thinking about maybe going looking for Erin again when she spotted a familiar head of platinum blonde hair sitting by herself. Livvy and Evie had never been particularly close but once Evie caught sight of the expression on Livvy’s face, she couldn’t walk away. Instead, she walked over to her, and sat down on the couch beside her. “Hey,” she said softly. “Are… are you okay?” She asked.

She didn’t startle, thanks to Evie’s soft tone. She blinked at her, a little surprised she was the the one sitting beside her. It’s not that they didn’t like each other. They just… never interacted really. Especially when their relationships with those around them had been so different in high school. Then her question finally registered.

She gave a little shrug. ”Lauren.” She didn’t give a one word response because words were hard for her. She was slowly coming back into herself from that. She gave the one word--the name--as a response because she felt that was all the explanation she needed to give. Everyone knew Lauren’s reputation and though they weren’t close, she knew Evie would likely understand without needing details.

The one word answer was more than enough for Evie to understand. Lauren’s words were still ringing in her head, even as she tried desperately not to focus on them or dwell on them. Lauren was in fine form tonight, it seemed, leaving destruction in her wake. Evie briefly reached over to rest her hand on Livvy’s. She squeezed the other girl’s hand gently, and then released it.

“I don’t know what she said, and you don’t have to tell me. But Lauren is manipulative and cruel, and doesn’t think about anyone other than herself. Whatever she said or did, she’s wrong,” Evie said, mimicking the things that had been said to her. “The opinions of the people you care about matter way more than hers do.”

Livvy gave Evie a soft smile. ”Thank you.” Livvy ran a hand through her long hair, picking at the knots that have started to form. ”She brought up something from my past that was better left buried.” She looked up, glancing at the wall again. ”But you’re right. She’s wrong. And there are people I value who have shown me that.” She was thinking of Erin. Adonis and Julian, too.

Evie returned the smile. “She does that. She doesn’t like not having control of your present, so she tries to bring up the past to use that against you. But you’ve just got to remember that your present is way better without her,” she said. She glanced down at her hands for a moment, her words equal parts reminder to her as to Livvy. “Speaking of which, I saw some of your art. It looks incredible, I was blown away,” Evie said, knowing they’d both appreciate the change in topic, but meaning the compliment.

Livvy blushed a little, unused to people praising her work like that. Some people appraised it like they would a prize pig, but not the way Evie did. Or at least, no one outside of her friends and her teachers. And even then, no one had ever said incredible. She tucked her hair behind her ear and said, ”Thanks. That means a lot.” She curled a lock of her long hair around her finger, fidgeting. ”And I uh. Saw your channel. Erin showed it to me. I’m actually a subscriber now.”

It was Evie’s turn to blush as Livvy said she’d seen her YouTube channel and had subscribed. It was still strange, hearing that from real people and people she knew outside of YouTube. “Thanks. I know there’s like… a really wide range of videos going on there, but I have fun doing it and people seem to like them, so guess I’ll stay going for now,” she said with a shrug. Then an idea hit her, and she turned to look fully at Livvy.

“Hey, you should set up a channel for your art! You could do like… speedpaints and- ooh, I bet you’d be great at ASMR! You have such a lovely soft voice, I think it would work great for it!” She gushed. “It would be another platform for sharing your art, and more people should see it!”

Livvy didn’t even have to think about it. It blew Lauren’s instagram offer--not that she’d still extended or had actually intended to from the start--out of the water. She was grinning, ear to ear. ”Oh my gosh, that’s an amazing idea, Evie!” She took the girl’s hand in hers and gave it a grateful squeeze. ”I can’t believe I hadn’t even thought about it before.”

Realizing she was holding onto a girl who was very nearly a stranger to her. She let go with an awkward laugh. ”Sorry. And thank you.” She brushed her hair behind her ear again. ”Would you mind if I came by sometime? You could show me the ropes? Help me find equipment?”

Evie’s grin just widened at Livvy’s reaction and seeing how excited she got about it, delighted that she also liked the thought of the idea. She squeezed Livvy’s hand back, before letting go. She smiled at her awkward laugh.

“No worries. And absolutely! Please do!” Evie said excitedly. “I’m happy to help! We should collab too, give you a bit more exposure. Just message me on Instagram, any time, and I’m more than happy to show you the ropes. I’ll also find some of the resources I use to help figure stuff out and send them to you too,” she said delightedly.

”I would love that! Oh, wow! I’m so excited!” She very nearly squealed. ”And, hey. I’m sorry we’ve never really talked before. I tend to keep to the familiar. And… thanks for coming to check on me. I definitely feel a lot better now.”

Evie smiled as Livvy apologised for never having spoken to her, shrugging a little bit. “To be fair, I never spoke to you either. I was… too busy fawning over She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. But I’m glad we talked now. If you ever want to talk… well, I’ve been through stuff as well. So… I get it.” She said. There was a second or two where she didn’t know what to say next. “Um, I think I’m going to go grab another drink, make sure Gabriella and Adonis aren’t getting themselves into too much trouble. I’ll see you around though, yeah?” She said with a smile as she got to her feet.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Evie Addams Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen
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Olivia Erikson
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The Artist | Attire | hex: #F1D03A
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Erin Monaghan
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The Bartender | Attire | hex:#800000
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Erin didn't exactly know how long she had been on the back patio for, but it was long enough for her to have gone through two full cigarettes. Her confrontation with Lauren in the hallway had left her feeling more angry and confused than she had originally anticipated. But, here she was. Trying to calm her nerves as she looked down at the cigarette she had in her hand currently. The golden burning embers were growing closer to her finger tips. She could go for a third but, Erin knew she had enough. Taking one final drag from the mostly finished cigarette butt, and crushed it in the ashtray that was off to her right.

Erin shook her head as she combed her fingers through her dark brown hair. Erin shouldn't have let Lauren get to her as much as she did. Her hands were still shaking a bit. Clambering her hands together in front of her for a moment. Taking a deep breath, she turned on her heel, her boots just barely squeaking against the floor beneath her. Leaning against the railing, Erin's eyes scanned through the glass pane window that led into the living room. Trying to figure out what she could do now. No one seemed of interest in that moment, before those all too familiar blond locks caught her attention.

Combinng her fingers through her hair once more, Erin straightened and patted down her clothes before walking back into the living room. Pausing in the threshold for a moment. Clearing her throat nervously before she walked over to Livvy. Erin gave her a shy smile before looking around for a moment. "Now a bad time or-?" she questioned, not sure if Livvy was waiting on someone else or she was going to occupy her time elsewhere. Erin would understand regardless of what Livvy may have wanted at that moment. Erin simply just wanted to check up on her friend again, especially after having confronted Lauren and spent some time away before finally coming back. Couldn't have been more than fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, right?

Evie had just vacated the seat beside her when she heard that familiar voice again. She beamed at her, doing much better than she had been when Erin had last found her. Talking to Evie had helped a lot. She was excited for the projects they had discussed. And so, she beamed up at Erin. ”No, now is great!” She gave the seat beside her a pat.

Once Erin was seated, she placed a hand on her arm, getting her attention and proceeded to gush about the channel she and Evie had talked about. ”Evie had an amazing idea, Erin! She recommended I start a youtube channel where I could do speed painting and art tutorials! Won’t that be amazing! Imagine the exposure? The commissions!” She gave her friend’s arm a soft squeeze before realizing she was just rambling on about herself. She let go, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. ”Sorry. You know how I am when I’m excited. I’m… better now. Talking to Evie helped.Thank you. For earlier I mean.”

Erin couldn't help but smirk a bit when Liv said that no was fine, and she found herself quickly sitting down beside her friend. Keeping her eyes on the blond the entire time as she spoke, a small smile still remaining all the while. Listening patiently the entire time she spoke, nodding along. A soft chuckle escaped her lips with how excited Livvy sounded, "It does sound pretty amazing, I won't lie. And you would for sure be great at it, trust me!" Erin said as she flashed a smile in Livvy's direction, gently placing a hand on her knee. "Your art's always been some of my favorite anyway, so...I have no doubt you'd be able to go far with that, trust me."

She couldn't help but give a small shrug when Livvy apologized, not having seen a reason for anything to be forgiven. Erin liked hearing how excited Livvy would get, talking about her hobbies. It just further helped prove that Livvy felt comfortable enough with Erin to talk about it freely. Something she always wished people could do. Another small chuckle was heard as Erin nodded, "Oh there's no need to thank me, I just...Did what anyone would do, ya know?" she questioned with a raised eyebrow. "You're my friend I...I wouldn't have done anything differently. You know that, right?"

Livvy’s smile softened, warmth filling in her eyes. She placed a hand on top of Erin’s where it rested on her knee. ”It means a lot to hear that from you. That you like my art so much I mean.” She looked down a little. ”Sometimes I struggle with feeling like my art is any good. I do think that having a muse, a… someone to create for and to use as a model that I care about.” She gave Erin’s hand a small squeeze.

”And I know. I feel bad that you had to come rescue me… again--when you should be enjoying the party, but I’m grateful for you. You’ve always come to my rescue.” She tilted her head, uncertainty crinkling her brow. ”You know I’d do the same for you, right? You need me, I’m there.”

Erin grinned cheekily as Livvy mentioned how much it meant to her, and how she often struggled to find her art as good as people said it was. "Oh please...Your art is some of the best, you shouldn't need other people's opinions to validate you." Erin said softly, looking down for a moment. "And uh..." she cleared her throat as Erin leaned back a bit, "You do have one hell of a great model, if I do say so myself." Erin flashed her friend a wink for a moment, before straightening up a bit again.

There was a brief pause between the two after Livvy spoke up again. Erin gave another shrug once more. Not exactly sure how to take what was said to her. Erin bit her bottom lip for a moment as she thought, taking a deep breath as she did so, before speaking up. "Really, Liv it...It's no problem, I mean it." her tone was genuine and soft. "For as long as I can remember I've always fought for other people...Never been a reason to change that, especially since..." her voice trailed off for a moment.

Clearing her throat with a small cough as she looked off to the side. Even now, simply referencing what happened with her brother was harder than Erin anticipated. She looked back over at Livvy giving her a small smile, "-And I know you would...I think it's why I-" Erin stopped herself, before she could say anything stupid. "Just uh...You mean a lot to me, ya know? So...Like...I always got you, is what I'm trying to say, I guess. You ever need or want, anything, I'm there.." she said with a small nod.

The softness of Erin’s tone sent goosebumps prickling up her arms. It was rare for Erin to be this vulnerable with people. She’s always cared fiercely for those she deemed…worthy of that care and attention. And Livvy was always amazed that she was one of those people. She could see Erin was struggling with something. And, in her Livvy way, she reached up with a hand cupping Erin’s cheek in her palm. ”Everything alright? You seem… Something’s bothering you.” Her blue eyes scanned Erin’s face, looking for any sign or tell to clue her in to what’s bothering her friend.

Erin's eyes had more or less found them anchored onto Livvy the moment she felt contact on her cheek. Her heart managed to skip a beat for just a moment before shifting a bit on the couch. Silence hung between the two of them for another moment as Erin tried to think of something to say. Her eyes scanned over Livvy before sighing a bit, "Just...Just a lot, ya know?" she gestured to her own head for a moment with her right hand, before shaking her head. "...Mainly Lauren getting in my head as well after I spoke with her and just...I dunno.." Erin shrugged a bit, not wanting to overshare in case all it did was worry Livvy more, as well as being uncertain of what she was even feeling at that moment.

Erin’s delayed response left her questioning the touch, but when she finally gave a response, Livvy gave a small knowing smile. “No matter how hard we try, she always seems to find that something that gets to us, huh?” She dropped her hand, running it down her arm until she could hold onto her hand. ”I’m here if you need to talk about anything, but I will tell you. Whatever she’s doing to get to you, even if it’s true, she’ll get what’s coming to her. Karma always comes back around. And...” she gave a small squeeze, ”No matter what it is, you matter and everything will be alright.”

Erin gave a small, curt nod as Livvy reassured her, as well as giving her hand a gentle squeeze. Which Erin returned in kind, gently rubbing her thumb against Livvy's hand. There was once again another moment of silence before Erin found herself able to speak again, "Yeah...I...I do. Just...I should have made her leave the moment I saw her get here...I...I'm sorry." her tone was low, but entirely genuine as she spoke. "I can't help but feel like what happened was cuz I didn't do anything...I'm sorry, Liv."

Livvy felt a crack form in her heart at the guilt her friend felt. ”Oh, Rin. That wasn’t your fault. She would’ve found some way to get back in or a different time to torment all of us. It’s what brings her pleasure.” She attempted some levity in a dirty joke as she said, ”I doubt she’s any fun in the bedroom.” She waited to see if her joke landed before giving her friend another squeeze. ”The only people I blame for this is Lauren and myself for letting her get inside my head. And mostly Lauren. You’re one person. You can’t be everywhere at once. Besides, I highly doubt she’d listen to you. I think we’d have to all team up to get her to leave us all the hell alone.” She sighed.

Erin slowly nodded as Livvy spoke, but slowly shook her head in distaste of the word used in accompaniment with Lauren. "Yeah no thanks-" Erin interjected with a tone of disgust. Allowing Livvy to continue. Immediately feeling her skin crawl at the next part, "Okay okay, how about we don't talk about her anymore? Okay, thanks?" Erin said with an overdramatic but clearly playful tone.

Shaking her head in disbelief of her friend's joke. "Eh, even then...Don't blame yourself. One day she's gonna get kicked off her high horse, and we're all gonna be able to revel in it so...How about we just say fuck it and enjoy ourselves, hm?" Erin asked with an eyebrow raised. "Don't need to continue letting that sour bitch ruin everyone's night."

Livvy smiled, and gave a nod. She reached with her free hand for her water bottle she had placed onto the coffee table. She unscrewed the cap and raised it between them. ”To ignoring the Fire Breathing Bitch Queen and enjoying the rest of our night?” She raised an eyebrow in question.

Erin grinned and nodded at her friend's comment, "The very Queen Bitch Tits? Yeah I'm good with that." she replied all too casually. She leaned back a bit, her eyes scanning the room again before looking at Liv, "You sure you're okay though?" the look on her face was genuine, even meeting her eyes. "Cuz you know that's all that matters..." Erin cleared her throat once more, "You being okay, I mean."

Livvy continued to smile and nodded again. ”Absolutely sure. Evie helped a lot and you being here to check in on me has definitely gotten me back to my almost normal self.” She eyed her friend for a moment. ”Are you feeling a little better now too?”

Erin nodded solemnly as Livvy spoke, giving her a gentle nod. Erin gave a small shrug in response, "I guess...?" she answered back honestly. Erin sighed as she clasped her hands together in front of her, "I'll be fine just...In time. I'm a big girl, I can handle myself." she flashed Liv another small wink as well as gently nudging her arm with her own. "Or we can both be messes together by the time this is over, who knows." Erin jested for a moment. That was until something, or more so someone had caught her attention immediately. Erin’s raised a worried eyebrow, before looking back at Livvy, ”I...I’m gonna go check on her real quick, I’ll be right back, yeah?” Erin said before getting to her feet and weaved through the crowd of people. Just barely being able to keep her eyes trained on her target as she passed through the bodies of people.

Evie was making a beeline for the door, weaving her way through the crowd and not caring if she collided with anyone as she left. She needed to get out of there, she needed to get out as soon as possible. She felt a hand on her arm and physically recoiled. Her heart sank as she saw it was Erin. She could practically hear Lauren’s words in her head. Good to know your “new friends” care about you so much. The look on Erin’s face as she looked at Livvy said everything. Evie wasn’t sure she could look at Erin right then, because she knew she’d end up searching for that same softness when Erin looked at her, and she doubted she’d find it.

She forcibly pulled her arm away. “I can’t do this,” she said, finally whirling around to look at Erin. “I won’t be used as a tool to play games, and I don’t intend on being a part of any of those games. I’ve had enough of people messing me around for a lifetime. So… I’m sorry, but I can’t do… whatever this is,” she said, more anger and hurt in her voice than she had meant. And then she just turned and walked away, keeping her head down as the tears began to burn.

Erin was only able to look at Evie in confusion. What the hell got her so worked up like this? That was until she explained she wouldn’t be a part in anyone else’s games. A genuine look of worry overcame Erin, her eyebrows knitting together, the in-curl of her bottom lip as Erin felt her teeth bite them anxiously. And her stomach feeling like it plummeted a thousand feet. Erin was anchored in place as Evie turned around one final time, turning her back on Erin and walked away.

Everything went silent, as if everything was suddenly submerged under water. The music that played overhead was muffled and drowned out, like she was swimming. Her body felt sluggish and heavy, and her head began to pound with an excruciating headache. Erin managed to push her way through the crowd and into the hallway, stumbling as she supported herself against the wall. Pushing herself to her room. I need to find it- she thought to herself. Erin attempted to open her bedroom door. Locked again. Who else was hooking up in her own damn room again? As if catching Damien and Gabriella earlier wasn’t bad enough. Ugh. She felt nauseous. For what felt like a few minutes, she simply stood near the door. But finally, turning on her heel, she attempted the bathroom. Also locked. Groaning angrily, Erin pushed herself out of the hallway, holding onto the wall as she made her way out.

She just needed to get away, she thought. Erin fumbled her way to the back patio, looking around as she dodged looking anyone in the eye. Before walking over to the corner of the patio, pushing her back up against it, and sat there. She just needed to calm down. Breahe. In. Out-




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!?"