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Soren Bowers

you looked at death in a tarot card and you saw what you had to do.

0 · 149 views · located in New York

a character in “the last of the real ones”, as played by partially-stars

Description



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F U L LXN A M E
Soren James Bowers

N I C K N A M E (S)
Sor

B I R T H D A Y
January 18

A G E
24

S E X U A L I T Y
Bisexual

E T H N I C I T Y
White American

H O M E T O W N
New York

H E X
#4d5676



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S T Y L E
Soren’s style has completely changed from when he was a teenager. In his twenties, he discovered not only colour, but also patterns, and now his wardrobe is full of both. He’s mastered the art of balancing them too. When he’s not doing band stuff, he has a tendency to drift back to his old style with band t-shirts, ripped jeans, and leather jackets. He’s no stranger to makeup, mostly on stage, but has been known to wear eyeliner day to day when he's having a good day.

H E I G H T & B U I L D
6'2", slim

A P P E A R A N C E
Soren is often described as striking. There’s those ice-blue eyes which give away far too much of his emotions than he would like at times, as well as a strong bone structure. But his most distinctive feature is his smile. Big, a little lopsided at times, and entirely endearing. He lost a lot of weight after the accident, but he's managed to put most of it back on, managing to build a bit of muscle back onto his frame as well. His hair is constantly changing colours and styles; from black and blue, to blonde and blue, to all blue, and back again. He’s got a number of tattoos ([right shoulder blade][right forearm][left arm below elbow][left arm near wrist]) and both of his ears are pierced several times, including an industrial and rook in his left ear.



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P E R S O N A
Despite all of his troubles as a teenager, Soren was generally well liked, and that hasn’t changed. He’s charismatic, energetic, and usually cheerful. He’s loved by his fans and generally regarded as one of the nicest guys on the rock scene by both his peers and the fans. In interviews and behind the scenes of music videos, he’s always cracking jokes and goofing around, without ever crossing the line into being annoying or irritating. He’s got a reputation of being exceptionally honest, and there are only a handful of things about his life he keeps totally honest. He gives his everything to the crowds and to the fans, which is part of the reason he finds touring so exhausting. Even when he’s having a bad day, he puts on a brave face and does his best to appear fine. This was what he did when things were at their worst. He’d push the attention away from himself, crack a joke, put a smile on his face, and make sure people didn’t see the fact that the light behind his eyes was rapidly fading. At his worst, he knew he wasn’t fooling anyone with the act, but people around him pretended to believe it, which was what he wanted at the time.

Nowadays, he’s trying to get out of the habit of hiding it. But habits of a lifetime die hard. He has a tendency to downplay how bad he’s really feeling, be it physically or mentally. It’s an old habit, nothing more than that. He wants to let people in, he wants to let them help, because the support of other people is the only reason he’s gotten to where he is, and he knows that. But for years, letting people in meant letting them see how bad things really were, and that wasn’t an option. As terrible as his mother was, she was family, and the only family he had left, and letting go was impossible. Letting people in meant possibly losing her, and that wasn’t going to be an option for him. He wasn’t going to be alone in the world and he wasn’t going to give up on family. This is something that’s still true today. There are a handful of people that he would do anything for and that he considers his new family, and as bad as things can get, he won’t give up on them as long as they don’t give up on him.

All of the anger and the pain and the hurt that Soren went through as a teenager hasn’t vanished, though. He was never cruel, but he was angry. Even his friends saw how quickly he could tip to the edge of snapping, only to pull himself back. This is what led him to bars and to fights he knew he couldn’t win. He tries to process it in healthier ways; but it’s very much still something he’s working on, and sometimes all of the emotions he’s bottling up come surging out of him in a wave. He’s managed to avoid falling back into his habit of getting into fights, at least, but his pain and anger are explosive, and he’ll do anything to get rid of them. He’s increasingly aware of his dependence on his prescription painkillers, and has written it off so far as needing them after the physical strains of tour, with the intention of reducing them down now he’s home and has some time off; but there’s a part of him that fears he’ll never be able to.

For all of his problems though, Soren feels properly alive for the first time. He’s burned out, he’s exhausted, and in desperate need of a break; but he’d do it all over again without a second thought. He knows that being where he is now seemed impossible for sixteen year old him, and so he makes sure to get the most out of it. He knows he’s got his limitations, but he’s not afraid to push them just to see how far he can get. He’s not done dreaming by a long shot. He’s determined to leave the past in the past and keep moving forward, not wanting to let things hold him back.


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H I S T O R I A
content warning for mentions of abuse, addiction, medical stuff, and burnout
For six years of Soren’s life, his family seemed picture perfect. He had a mom and a dad who loved each other and who adored him. He was an only child, but he made friends easily and so was never lonely. And then Soren’s father died in a freak accident when Soren was seven, and everything changed. Soren was with him at the time, and his father pushed him out of the way of the falling debris, before being killed instantly. His mother was heartbroken. Having lost her soulmate, there was only one way she could find to numb the pain, and that was to block out the world with alcohol and drugs. It didn’t take long for her to begin to blame Soren for his father’s death. With the blame came verbal abuse and emotional manipulation. She never laid a finger on Soren, but she didn’t need to. The words tore strips from him and destroyed what self-esteem he had. Music was his only salvation. His father had taught him to play the piano, and Soren wrote his first songs on his father’s upright piano. That, and his friends, were perhaps the only reason he survived his teenage years. He kept starting bands, and they kept falling through or not working out. But he stayed writing.

His mother died when he was sixteen. Despite everything she’d put him through, he’d still cared about her, so this broke him even more. In search of self-destruction, he began going to bars that he was too young for, but where they didn’t look too closely at the fake ID he showed. It was here he started getting into fights. He never started them. But when he saw somebody picking on someone smaller or weaker than them, or a guy hassling some girl, he’d intervene. At that age, he was already tall, and could surprisingly hold his own, but he usually ended up the worse off. He didn’t care. That was the point. His band at the time would often play shows at venues and end up having to pull Soren back from a fight after the show. He had a gun pulled on him more than once. It was also around the time he started dating Lauren. Lauren was bad for him, and it seemed like everyone around him knew except him. And possibly even including him. But for a while, their relationship was good, even if she did encourage all of his bad habits. They surprised people with how well they seemed to fit together. It seemed like Soren brought out the good in Lauren; although this would soon be shown to all be an act.

He was eighteen, had just graduated high school by a hair, and was on his way home from a gig. The band were at their wits’ end with him, having had to pull him away from yet another guy with a gun. And then a drunk driver plowed into the taxi he was in, killing the driver and seriously injuring Soren. He was in a coma for three days, and when he came around, he was constantly medicated and groggy. A week after the accident, Lauren broke up with Soren, not wanting to have to deal with his road to recovery. At that stage, he was still on so many meds and in so much pain that the conversation didn’t register in his memory, and he had to be told again when he was more conscious. He would later discover she’d been cheating on him for that week, and possibly before that.

The accident was the wake up call he needed, and he began to pull his life back together. He apologised to the band and promised to make things better. The recording session to record an EP was a peace offering more than anything else, and they didn’t expect it to really bring them anywhere. But it got them attention, and more people started coming to their shows. Two years after the accident, Beautiful Strangers were signed to a leading rock label based in LA. They recorded their first album there and immediately began touring, and toured for almost four years straight, taking a six month break two years ago to record their second album. However, Soren’s physical and mental health were beginning to severely suffer after the stress of touring. He was in a bad state, and both he and everyone else around him knew that. As they began to look towards working on their third album, Soren begged their team for a break from touring to get himself fixed up. They agreed, and Soren moved back to New York to live with one of his best friends.


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S E C R E T S
His current mental and physical state. The stress of constantly working has led to the emotional abuse he was subjected to as a teenager rearing its ugly head again and leading to him struggling. He’s also suffered from chronic pain and fatigue ever since the accident which tend to fluctuate.
Lauren has contacted him several times over the past few years, and even tracked him down while he was on tour. He’s told her where to shove it every single time, but she doesn’t seem to be willing to let it drop. Most recently, she showed up at the last show of their tour, and discovered his prescription painkillers back stage. She threatened to tell the world he was a junkie, and he dared her to do it. She hasn’t done anything yet, but Soren doubts she’d back down that easily.
His growing dependence on painkillers is a concern for him. His mother was an addict, and he knows that these things tend to be genetic. Now he’s starting to recover from tour, he’s reducing down his usage, but that voice in the back of his head is telling him he won’t be able to do it, so why even try?


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So begins...

Soren Bowers'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: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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╔═════════════════╗xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
You say you want a bad bitchxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Baby, now you have itxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Now you got a bad bitchxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Show me you can handle thisxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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xRockstar ║ Outfit ║ Hex: #A38E8E

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<3

Camilla had just gotten off stage after the end of a show and had started going through her phone when she noticed a DM from someone she didn’t expect, Soren Bowers. He was inviting her to some sort of party, “for good ole times” and other things were mentioned. Cam rolled her eyes at the thought of hanging out with some of the people from high school and just dropped a “k” and went back to hanging out with her band and talking to her managers. The next couple of messages she just left on read, thinking that it could be a good idea as she hadn’t seen most of them in a while, but wasn’t sure if she would have time, never giving an answer.

But as it got closer and closer to the date, Camilla set plans to go to the party. Her bandmates were going on their honeymoon after the tour, so this gave her some free time so she decided she would go, a bit of a surprise to herself and the others. Plus it would be nice to see Soren again, maybe clear some air on things if possible. But also recently her and Lauren have talked a bit more, Lauren somehow getting her international number the two hit it off like old friends and nothing had changed. Cam mentioned the party to her, thinking it wasn’t a big issue and Lauren quickly said she would be going, and Camilla just replying with the laughing crying emoji, knowing it would steer up some drama.

The night of the party finally came and Camilla was ready. She had ordered a vehicle to pick her up from a private taxi service, not exactly wanting to take a normal taxi. Cam posted a picture she took earlier to her instagram and sent a few messages to some of her friends and made sure her makeup and hair looked good in her phone camera as the vehicle headed to the address Soren mentioned in the invite.

Camilla climbed out of the vehicle as the driver opened the door for her and she handed him some cash to cover a tip before she walked up the stairs. As the door opened, a smirk came across Cam’s face, and a flow of the high school and graduation parties came back to her. She quickly headed in and saw Soren and Erin talking, Soren seeing her first and saying something to Erin. “Not a bad place, guess the bar didn’t crash and burn after all. And nice…. Bird shirt…” Camilla trailed off, before dismissing herself and joining the rest of the party.

The party was just starting to get rowdy, Camilla noticed a message from Lauren, just a selfie inside of a vehicle. She put her phone away and looked up, seeing a familiar person from high school, one of her few exes that didn’t try to get back with her when she had success, and one she didn't mind. Simon. “Hey there, Riz, long time no see. I heard you had a nice comic book store going.” Cam brought up, taking a sip of her drink.

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xxxxxxxxxxxxxx I should move 'cause New York is gettin' muddy out
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxThere's L.A. but it's always kinda sunny out
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxAnd I don't wanna hurt no more
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxSo I set my bar real low

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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxOutfit ║ Hex: #2A9DF4

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<3
The party invite first came from Soren, all the details about the when and the where, but not exactly about the who. Robyn assumed most of the others from high school would be there, the ones she obviously stayed in contact with and were still in New York would probably be there, but the ones out of state possibly wouldn’t be there. She was curious about whether or not Lauren would be there, the two of them didn’t end on bad terms, but she knew some of the others did, and was worried about there being drama.

Robyn originally was going to come up with some excuse about not going, worried about possible drama, but also the thought that hanging out all the others would bring back memories with Nathan who she was still grieving about. She was out at her favorite bookstore, The Cozy Book Nook, seeing if they had any books on sale when Simon brought up the party. Robyn dodged confirming if she was going or not, but when Simon said he was going and eventually asked if she was, she caved. Saying she was probably just going to stay home, but Simon asked if she wanted to go with him, and something made her say yes. She wrote down her address on a napkin as they set up a time for Simon to come by her place so they could head to the party together.

The day of the party arrived, and Robyn spent most of the day getting ready; figuring out what to wear, painting her nails cyan, curling her hair, and just trying to get herself mentally ready for tonight. She had started pacing around her house, mostly in the hallway in front of her door waiting for Simon, telling herself this wasn’t a date, and that Nate would be okay with her doing this. When he rang the doorbell, she jumped a little bit before putting on the last minute puff of perfume and opening the door. Robyn smiled as the two of them exchanged stares before Simon gave her a compliment. “Thanks, I really like your hair.” She replied, though a bit embarrassed that that was all she could say at the moment. “And the jacket.” Robyn added, but probably didn’t help.

She took Simon’s hand as he offered to help her out of the taxi. She took it without a second thought, but there was a comforting feeling when she grasped him as she stepped out. Simon was the one to break their hands with an apology, Robyn wasn’t even sure how much time had passed, but the air felt a bit empty now. “It’s fine!” She said quickly, probably a bit too fast. She just pushed the thought to the back of her mind as Simon gestured for her to go first, and the two of them entered the party and handed a drink by someone.

Robyn felt she was taken out of reality as she scanned the party, seeing the familiar faces from all the years ago, a few memories flying through her head like flashbacks. She was only brought back down to earth as she heard Simon’s voice and saw his hand held out and asked for a dance. She was hesitant at first, but raised her glaze from his hand up to his eyes. “Yes. Kind sir.” Robyn replied with a giggle and a smile, letting him lead her to the more center of the room where people were dancing.

The two of them dancing was nice, probably the most carefree thing she had done in a while, and even then, it was the stream she did with Gabriella. After a few songs Robyn was having a good time when she noticed her drink was empty and was still thirsty. “Hey, I’m going to get some more to drink? You want anything?” She asked, before doing a small twirl away and heading to the kitchen and fun party signs pointing to the drinks.

As she entered the kitchen she accidentally bumped into someone and quickly apologizing, it took her a moment to recognize who it was. “Dean!” She exclaimed loudly and opened her arms up and gave Dean a hug. “How have you been? How’s the restaurant?” She asked, walking around him and grabbing a cup and filling it up with whatever alcohol punch they had and taking a sip.

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: 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: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers 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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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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Soren turned to Simon as he grabbed his arm, holding him back. He glanced back at Lauren, realising that Simon was right, and nodded, turning back to Simon and shooting him a smile. “Thanks, man. You’re right. Hey, I better go… check on things in the kitchen. But we need a proper catch up at some point, yeah?” He said. Truth be told, he did genuinely want to catch up with Simon. But not right now. What he actually wanted was another drink, and something ideally stronger than a beer, and take the opportunity to calm down a little.

After a vodka and coke (or two) that was heavy on the vodka, and a chat with a few others that were in the kitchen, Soren finally felt a little bit calmer. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he knew that Lauren was still probably out there, causing havoc as ever, but he’d put her from his mind for now. That was, until he stepped out into the main room again, and she was there. Almost as if she’d been waiting for him. Which, of course, she had. She wouldn’t miss the opportunity to play with one of her favourite toys.

“Soren, darling,” she purred, grabbing him by the arm and dragging him into a hallway. Her perfectly manicured nails dug into his arm as she dragged him; a warning, it seemed, not to try anything. He allowed her to do so, if only because he didn’t want to make yet another scene. She released him once they were just in the hall; out of the direct eyeline of most, but it was still easy to spy on them if one wanted. She stood between him and his escape route, a deliberate positioning.

“I just wanted to talk to you properly,” she said, with a pout that might have been convincing, had he not seen her use it on far too many people over the course of their relationship to actually believe it. He folded his arms and raised an eyebrow.

“What have you got to say to me that you haven’t already said?” He asked. He honestly had no idea why she was even trying this. In the six years since they’d broken up, he’d heard far too many stories about her for her to ever stand a chance again. Hearing that she’d ditched Evie when she’d been hospitalised rang far too many familiar bells for Soren, and was proof that she hadn’t changed, and probably never would. She’d given him all of the lines when she’d shown up at various events and shows across the years, and he’d never fallen for any of them.

“I just wanted to have a proper conversation with you away from the crowds. Just us. I know we’ve had our issues in the past-” Soren arched his eyebrow even further at that. “- but I really just want to leave that all behind and move on.” If it was anyone else, maybe he would have heard her out. But he knew it was bullshit. She had always been good at faking sincerity. It was how she’d wrapped so many people, including him, around her finger. And now, he knew how to read her.

“Yeah, no, not happening. I heard about what happened with Evie-”
“Oh, you’re believing her lies? It was a panic attack, Soren, I was there. She’d just hyping it up into something that it wasn’t so you’ll all feel sorry for her. She probably all told you that I stopped texting her, after she was the one to cut meoff.” And there it was. The manipulation, the lying, the twisting of the story.
“- And I also haven’t developed amnesia in the past month and forgotten about that conversation in Vancouver, Lauren. You haven’t changed at all.”
“Well, maybe if you’d taken me up on that offer, we wouldn’t be here right now. Or… maybe we would, but we’d be doing something very different,” she said, taking a step closer and trailing her hand along the edge of his jacket. He took a step back.

“You should leave,” he said again, firmly. She laughed.
Yeah, no, not happening, she repeated, mocking him. “I don’t intend on going anywhere. In fact, I think I want to stick around for a while. A long while. And seeing as you’re so stuck in your ways, holding silly grudges and being completely unwilling to forgive and forget… I’ve got an offer for you. One final offer.” She tapped on her phone for a few seconds, before holding it out, showing that she still had the picture of his pills. “You know, it’s convenient that these aren’t in a prescription bottle. They look really suspicious, which of course, makes it very easy to spin this as just another burned out junkie rockstar who’s on the road to ODing as a nobody in some shitty motel bathroom. Especially when I’ve got these videos of you being super spacey in interviews and on stage and testaments about you popping pills all the time. But I can make this go away. I can delete the photos and it’ll all go away. All it takes…” she said, pressing herself against him again. “...is a second chance,” she whispered in his ear. He went to pull away, and she grabbed his arms so he couldn’t move, so he was held in position.

“Before you refuse this offer so thoughtlessly, I just want you to remember this. Do you really think the world will treat you so kindly when they know that your mother died of an overdose and clearly had a drug problem as well? Will they continue to believe your quirky airhead act?” She whispered. Her breath was hot against his skin, but that threat made his blood run cold. She kissed him on the cheek, and for a moment, for the briefest second, he wondered if he should do as she said. For the sake of his career, and the life he’d worked so hard to create. And then he came to his senses and pulled away from her, hard enough that he stumbled back and almost fell over his own feet.

“No,” he said. “Go ahead. Post those photos. I don’t care. Nothing is worth that second chance,” he said. For a moment, she actually looked genuinely shocked. He took that moment to brush past her.
“You’re going to regret this,” she said, catching his wrist as he did so. He didn’t even answer her, just pulled his arm away and kept walking. There was a horrible moment when he thought that she would follow, that she would start making public announcements of his secrets, but nothing seemed to happen, and he rejoined the party, wanting to try and forget the conversation had ever happened.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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You say you want a bad bitchxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Baby, now you have itxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Now you got a bad bitchxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Show me you can handle thisxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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xRockstar ║ Outfit ║ Hex: #A38E8E

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<3
Camilla let out a smirk as Simon commented on her hair. She decided to change it up a bit for the party, though she wasn’t convinced if she actually preferred it. Her normal look, her bangs, lipstick, white jacket, were her brand. “Yeah, just switching things up. Love the jacket. Might need a new picture of you in it for the wiki page.” She replied, returning a comment about appearance. Though shortly after he spoke about his job, something about it not being an actual comic book store but a regular bookstore with a coffee shop, the air seemed to shift. Cam turned around towards the door and saw why. Lauren. Looking as stunning as always, and of course making an entrance. “Excuse me Riz.” She spoke to Simon, more so dismissing him as Lauren walked over to her, embracing the women and exchanging kisses on the cheek. “Good to see you hun. Worried you wouldn’t make it.”

Camilla smirked as she knew chaos would soon ensue, and for once stepping out of the spotlight, sneaking away and letting Lauren do her thing.




It had been a few minutes since Lauren had arrived, the party tried to get back up to speed to how it was before she arrived, but Cam was still having a good time, eavesdropping on conversations here, joking with others there. Even taking a few pictures for other people’s instagrams. “I’ll be back, I have to freshen up.” She excused herself and headed towards the other side of the apartment to get some privacy. Camilla was already digging in her purse for what she was looking for. In honesty, she would have probably done a line as she was getting a bit bored and feeling an itch crawling up her. But she was quickly distracted.

Cam hung around a corner as she noticed two familiar voices and caught an ear of their conversation, though not catching the beginning of it. She kept out of sight of either Soren and Lauren as they were too busy focusing on each other as they argued. She thought about interrupting, but wanted to see exactly what was going on first and would decide when, or even if, she would get between the two of them. But what she heard worried her. Lauren was speaking about pills that Soren was taking, and even catching a glimpse of the photo on her phone. Lauren spoke more about them, about Soren overdosing and even possibly using it to blackmail him. “God damnit Soren…” Cam cursed under her breath as she walked away.

As she got to the bathroom Cam closed and locked the door behind her. She let out a deep breath and put her bag on the counter, pulling out a small bag and using one of her many cards to make a thin line on the counter top. Knowing one should be enough for now and quickly doing the crime out prying eyes. She took her time to do what she wanted in the bathroom. There was already one knock at the door and Camilla just yelled out she was busy. As she whipped her head back as she put things back in her purse, she noticed the medicine cabinet was adjarred and curiosity took her attention.

Camilla pulled open the mirror and saw mostly normal things and was about to leave when she noticed a bottle. She quickly picked it up and noticed it was Soren’s and the pills she overheard him and Lauren speaking about. “What a dumbass.” Cam spoke to herself, and then got an idea. If they aren’t here, then Lauren can’t blackmail Soren about them. She quickly stuffed the bottle into her purse and finished freshening up. Hearing someone knock again and quickly leaving no evidence of what she was doing. “Yeah, yeah. All yours.” She spoke out loud as she left the bathroom, catching the tail end of something interesting again.

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.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Soren Bowers
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soren bowers
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robyn miller
outfit - #2A9DF4

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Soren was pointedly trying to avoid Lauren as best he could, and was doing pretty damn well. He was making a beeline back towards the kitchen to replenish his drink without catching her attention, and her wrath, when he heard the unmistakable sounds of somebody getting slapped from across the room. He turned to see Robyn, of all people, screaming at Lauren. Her outburst was something he never would have expected from her, but he couldn’t say that he wasn’t glad to see it. It was worth it for the look on Lauren’s face. He continued his beeline to the kitchen, but grabbed another drink while he was there.

Lauren was nowhere to be seen when he returned to the main room, so he felt safe enough making his way to Robyn, holding out the second drink to her. “Do I want to know what bullshit Lauren was spewing this time?” He asked as he did so.

Robyn had only taken a few steps away and leaned against a wall to try to compose herself. It wasn’t like her to blow up like that at someone. As she looked up she was startled a bit and flinched back seeing someone come up to her, as she was still on edge. “Oh. Sorry. Hey Soren.” She spoke quickly, then taking another deep breath and taking the drink from Soren, figuring out what to say exactly. Robyn obviously didn’t want to tell the secret of her and Lauren getting together and cheating on Nathan. “Yeah. Just, some things she said about Nathan got to me…” She trailed off, rubbing her arm with her free hand, and taking a deep drink. “Thanks for this.”

Soren just nodded, shrugging a little as she explained. “She’s a pro at getting under your skin and figuring out the best way of tormenting you. Try not to let her get into your head, that’s giving her what she wants,” he advised. “Trust me, took me long enough to get her out of mine.” He shrugged again as she thanked him for the drink. “No worries. It’s great to see you again. I’m… sorry I couldn’t get home for the funeral. I was in Australia and we had back to back shows booked, I just… couldn’t get around them,” he said. “How are you doing? Feel free to feed me some bullshit about how you’re fine or tell me to just fuck off, I won’t mind,” he said with an awkward laugh.

She nodded in agreement with Soren about Lauren getting into her head and how she was such a good tormentor. Luckily she didn’t have to deal with that often since they were mostly on mutual terms. Is this what it was like for everyone trying to deal with Lauren during high school while Robyn ignored most of it so she wouldn’t feel Lauren’s wrath. The thought sent a shiver through Robyn before focusing back on Soren and their conversation. She kept her gaze to the side as he apologized for not being able to make it to the funeral.

“It’s fine Soren. I know you were busy, Nathan would always give me updates about you and Beautiful Strangers. Plus it wasn’t that big of a ceremony, it was small and simple, something that Nathan would’ve wanted you know?” Robyn quickly downed the drink and set it down. “I still go see him just about every week. He has a beautiful headstone.” She continued to speak, able to see the headstone, crystal clear in her mind as she just visited yesterday and told Nate about the party. A pair of angel wings at the top above words; Husband to one, Friend to all.

Robyn let out a small sniff and composed herself before she would start tearing up. “But that wasn’t your question. I’m doing alright. It differs from day to day. I thought coming here would help, but so far it sucks. Haven't even seen Simon since I arrived with him.”

He nodded as Robyn spoke about Nathan. Her love for him was clear, even now. Nathan had always been an amazing guy, the type of person it was impossible to hate, no matter how hard you tried. Not that he’d ever even given Soren any reason to hate him. They’d been friends through most of high school, and after the accident, Nathan had been known to randomly drop in on Soren to make sure he was doing okay, both in the hospital and when he was discharged. It was weird to think he was actually dead and not just… gone away to work for some charity or something.

Soren reached out and took Robyn’s hand, giving it a brief squeeze. “Sorry the party sucks. I promise it would have been fun, if Voldemort herself hadn’t shown up,” he said, tilting his head in the vague direction of where Lauren was. “And oh shit, I was talking to Simon earlier. If I see him again, I’ll tell him to come find you,” He promised.

As soon as Soren apologized about the party Robyn regretted her choice of words, even though he said it was Lauren’s fault. “Oh! No no! Sorry. The party is fun, I just meant in general and thinking I would be fine with it in general. Shocker, but I’m not so sure I’m over Nate completely, and everyone and everything here is just a reminder of him, of us. Going to your or Cam’s little garage practices. Hanging out with Julian after games. Or just any of the parties back then. It’s hard to think of a time when I wasn’t with him.” She spoke, taking a moment looking at Soren, realizing she’s dumping a lot. “Sorry, but it’s nice to talk to someone else besides the lord about this.” Robyn quickly gave Soren a hug.

“It is a good party Soren. I swear. You and Erin are excellent hosts. Where is she anyways, haven’t seen much of her. Sort of wanted a tour of the apartment.” Robyn rubbed the side of her neck with her left hand as she looked around for a moment.

Soren laughed, shaking his head. “It’s fine, Robyn. I know you didn’t mean it quite like that.” He said. He just smiled gently and nodded as she explained how everything reminded her of Nate. He squeezed her hand again. “Nobody expects you to be over him yet, Robyn. You take as long as you need to, okay?” He said, softly, before leaning into the hug.

At the question of where Erin was, he just shrugged, looking around. “Last time I saw her she was dancing with Evie so maybe they’re- no, there’s Evie, but no Erin, that’s a shame. I can give you a tour though?” He asked, looking back at her. It was then that he noticed something. “Hey, Robyn, where’s your engagement ring? You used to wear it all the time, right?” He said, wondering if she’d lost it somewhere in the apartment.

It made sense that Erin was dancing with Evie, Robyn always thought the two of them were cute back then, and still are, she had a suspicion of something between them. She was about to accept the offer of a tour, it was something that would take her mind off of what had happened, and possibly lead to seeing some of the others, but then Soren pointed out something. Her ring. “Huh?” Robyn looked down at her hand and immediately noticed it was gone. “Oh my god!” She freaked out for a second, trying to figure out if she ever took it off or left it somewhere. But then she froze and remembered she had it while talking to Lauren, she pointed it out. And while they were talking, while Robyn was vulnerable, Lauren held her hands. “Lauren.” Robyn mumbled out loud. “I’m going to kill her. She took it.” Robyn said to Soren, before walking off without saying much of a bye to him.

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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#, as written by TushoKa
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xSimon RizzoJulian Daviesx
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"Best of Bros"

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xxoutfit.outfit.xx



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: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Declan Sun
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declan sun.
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“I-” Soren tried to say something to Robyn, but she was gone before he could say anything. He sighed, running a hand through his hair and draining what was left of his drink. Lauren really was being extraordinarily awful to everyone, it seemed, and he could only wonder what the hell she actually wanted from them, or if she had just come to prove that she still could ruin everyone’s lives. And if it was the latter, well then, she was doing a fantastic job of that.

He headed towards the kitchen with the intention of getting another drink; but stopped as he spotted a familiar figure. He hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to Declan at all yet. And what was better was that Dean didn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. So instead, he changed course, heading towards Declan.

“Hey,” Soren said. “Long time, no see.”

Declan was still a little shaken up about their interaction with Lauren, and he jumped when he heard Soren’s voice. He’d been so in his own head, he hadn’t even heard Soren coming.

“Oh, god,” They mumbled, “Hi. Wow. Sorry,” A chuckle, awkward as could be, and then they cleared their throat, “I didn’t- I was deep in thought there.” Declan smiled, then, put the thought of what Lauren had said to the back of his mind. “It has been a long time. Too long.” They punctuated the statement with a smile- soft but genuine. The two had kept in touch via social media, but their busy schedules made it hard for them to meet in person, even on the rare occasion that Soren was back in town.

“Thanks for inviting me tonight,” He said, taking a half step closer to Soren, “It’s been really nice to get out, do something social for a change.”

Soren laughs a little at Declan’s admission to being lost in thought. He was more than used to that after this long. He returned the smile as Declan stressed that it had been too long. It really had. When you were only in the city for a handful of days at a time, and you knew you’d probably end up spending half of those days asleep, it made it hard to make plans. They’d tried, of course, but it had never worked out.

Soren leaned one shoulder against the wall beside them, shaking his head with a smile as Declan said it was nice to be social. “Glad to help. You know I’m always happy to provide a distraction,” he said, with a wry smile. “So, they’re still working you far too hard in that hospital then?” He asked teasingly.

Declan nodded, weariness showing very clearly on their face. “Working hard with no end in sight. You have to get used to it at some point,” He smiled, nothing but genuine gladness and fatigue. He wasn’t bitter about the work he was doing, this was the life he’d chosen, and he was just happy he had the chance to chase it.

“How’d the last tour go?” Declan asked, slowly back to be a bit more out of the way. Maybe find a rare space with some seclusion. Soren was such a busy man, it was hard to get his attention all to himself, even when he wasn’t touring or working on albums.

This small talk, catching up, there was always a lot of it when Declan came back in contact with someone. Their back and forth always went about the same. “It’s been so long.” “It really has,” “Written any good songs lately?” “Nothing that’s ready for the world. Saved any lives lately?” “Not quite but I like to think I’m learning how.”

Declan bit their lower lip, a thoughtful little nibble that gave away the gears turning in his mind. “How long are you in town for?” Maybe, just maybe, if they actually had the time, they could have a proper… Date? Outing? What would they even call it? He wasn’t sure.

Soren recognised the tiredness in Dec’s expression. It wasn’t just from a rough shift or even a rough week, but constant ongoing exhaustion; and an exhaustion that you didn’t care about, because you were doing what you loved. It was hard not to smile a little at Dec’s clear passion for what they did.

Soren caught Declan’s slight movement backwards, and he mimicked it, pushing off the wall and taking a few steps towards the quiet and the relative privacy of the hallway. “It was good. Absolutely exhausting, I slept for a few days straight when I got back,” he said with a laugh. “But good to finish on a high note at least.”

He raised an eyebrow as a thoughtful expression crossed Declan’s face, wondering what they were thinking about. At their question, Soren smiled. “Back for a while. A couple of months at least. So… we might finally be able to make it out for those drinks we kept talking about?” Soren asked.

Dec nodded along to Soren’s sentiment about ending on a high note. That was always the goal, probably. Touring couldn’t be easy; always on the road, never getting any meaningful rest. He could understand some of that.

Declan couldn’t hide the way their eyes lit up when Soren said he’d be in town for a while, this time. They nodded enthusiastically, said, “Absolutely,” And reached into their far-too-small-to-be-practical pocket for their phone. Immediately, Declan was sorting through his calendar, trying to figure out the most opportune time. “Sorry,” He smiled, almost sheepishly, “Busy, you know?” He got a text from Gabriella, and swiped it away. He’d check it in a minute. “How busy are you while you’re here?” Dec’s brows knit together, thinking about logistics and plotting out the best possible time.

Declan’s reaction made Soren smile, a reflex reaction he barely noticed. He didn’t even mind as they pulled out their phone, laughing a little at Declan’s explanation. “I get it.” At the question of how busy he was, he shrugged. “Not busy at all. I’ve got at least a month of zero commitments, so I’m flexible. Whenever works for you.” he said.

It felt like he and Declan were caught in an eternal state of “almost, but not quite,” and had been for a while, so the fact that they might actually be able to have plans they could both keep felt strange in a very good way. Part of Soren was trying to stay grounded, reminding himself that with Declan’s schedule, things could change at the last moment, while the other part was revelling in the delight of finally being able to make plans.

Declan nodded sagely, fighting the urge to pump their fist in victory. This was perfect. They could make real plans, Dec could insist on keeping them this time. He kept looking for dates. Maybe next Thursday. That wasn’t a weird day to meet for drinks, was it? Maybe the next Friday. That could work. “What do you think about-” But they couldn’t finish the thought before a familiar arm draped itself around their shoulder.

“What’s up, you two?” Dean. How was it he always materialized in moments like these?

“Dean, do you mind?”

“Not at all, big brother.” Dean smiled, as if to emphasise that he wasn’t going anywhere. Declan sighed, then Dean looked right at Soren and said, “Hey. Nice party. Didn’t expect to see Lauren here.”

Declan didn’t know what Dean’s angle was on this one, so he shot Soren an apologetic look. They’d continue their conversation as soon as Dean got bored and went away.

Soren had to bite back a curse as Dean materialised, seemingly from nowhere. Every. Goddamn. Time. He’d learned the hard way that telling Dean where he could shove it usually only made things worse, so the easiest thing to do was to just be nice and hoped he went away soon. He never did, though.

“Dean. Lovely to see you, as always,” Soren said, with zero effort at hiding his true feelings. “Neither did I, given she certainly wasn’t invited. Some people just have a knack of showing up where they’re not wanted, don’t they?” He said, raising an eyebrow. He returned Declan’s apologetic look with one of understanding. Soren would be damned if he let Dean’s interference ruin their almost-plans.

Dean nodded, a glimpse of something resembling relief glinting in his eye, “Some folks just can’t take a hint.” He shot Soren a knowing look, “Can they?”

The two had had many fights over the years, mostly about Soren and Declan’s relationship. Dean hated it, didn’t want the two of them to be close in any way, not as friends, certainly not as lovers. It had been suggested that Dean didn’t like how everyone he cared about liked Soren more than they liked him. That was silly. Declan just deserved better, was all.

“What do you want, Dean?” Declan interjected, and to Dean’s credit, he did a very convincing job of looking offended.

“Can’t a man want to spend some time with his only sibling?”

“You can spend time with me any day,”

“False. You’re so busy, this may very well be my only chance for weeks.”

Declan sighed, “Okay. Fine.”

Dean grinned, “Perfect. Have you had some of that strawberry stuff? It’s super fruity, you’d love it. Maybe Soren can fetch you some.”

Soren met Dean’s knowing look with one of scorn, still managing to bite his tongue for now. God, he wished that he and Erin had decided against inviting him now. He probably would have still shown up, but at least Soren would have had more authority to tell him to fuck off then.

The banter between the two siblings was borderline entertaining, even if Declan was the one to back down, as he usually was. Dean’s attempt to get rid of Soren was unoriginal and not even a terribly good one. Soren shrugged. “Sorry, have no idea what one you mean,” he said. “Erin sorted the drinks, and I haven’t come across that yet. Tell you what, seeing as you know what you’re looking for, how about you go get the drinks, and me and Dec can finish our conversation?” He asked, his tone perhaps overly cheery.

Dean clicked his tongue, as if he was very disappointed in what he was about to say, “Oh, Sor,” He said, emphasizing the nickname, as he knew they weren’t anywhere near close enough for Dean to feel so comfortable being familiar with the other man, “You know I’d love to, but I really do need to have a word with my brother.”

“It can wait, Dean.” Declan insisted.

“It really can’t, Dec.”

“Yes. It can. Anything you have to say to me can wait, or you can say it to both of us.”

Dean shot a look at Soren, considering his options. “I suppose it’ll have to wait, then.” Dean shot Soren a dirty look, as if to say ”You win this time.”

“I have something I need to talk to you about, too,” Declan said, a bit of panic working its way into his voice, despite how he tried to quell it, “I’ll find you later.”

Dean raised an eyebrow. Something resembling genuine concern crossed his face, “Is everything okay, Declan?” He said, voice low enough that nobody besides the three of them would hope to pick it up.

Declan nodded, “I’m fine. Go away.” But Dean made no move to actually leave, which didn’t surprise Declan in the least.

Soren was sure that his eye twitched as Dean called him Sor. It wasn’t that he disliked the nickname; just about everyone he was friends with used it at some point or another. But the emphasis on that point was friends. The familiarity with which Dean used it was grating and deliberate.

As a result, Declan’s triumph over his brother felt all the sweeter. Soren’s smile was triumphant and vaguely smug. So often, Dean did get the upper hand, with Soren often conceding defeat for Declan’s sake. It wasn’t fair that he got caught in arguments so much, but it also wasn’t fair that Dean started them so much.

It was the panic in Declan’s voice that cut through the delight of triumph. Soren looked at him, looked back at Dean and Dean’s reaction, and bit back a sigh. This was something that probably was just between the two brothers. It still counted as a triumph, he told himself. And then he pulled out his phone and groaned, perhaps a tad overdramatically. “Shit. Just got a text from Erin, she needs me to go… help her with something.” This was a complete lie, and not a particularly good one. “I’ll… catch you up later, okay?” He told Declan, shooting him a small smile. And then he shot Dean a glare, before turning and walking away. As he did so, he texted Declan.

“Whatever time you were going to suggest, I’m down. And now you know where the apartment is if you ever want to drop by ;)”

Dean smiled and waved as Soren walked away. The Erin thing was an excuse. They all knew it. But Soren’s concern for Declan won out at the end of the day. It was sweet, really. Dean turned to Declan, “What’s wrong?”

It couldn’t be summed up, really. Not easily, not by Declan. They just wanted a nice, normal night. That was, evidently, too much to ask for. “Why do you have to try to ruin my life every chance you get?”

Dean had the decency not to act surprised, but lacked the decency not to lie about what he was up to. “Dec, I swear, I’m not-“ He reached out to touch Declan’s shoulder, as if he were going to comfort his one and only brother.

“Don’t touch me!” Declan snapped, “Everything that goes wrong in my life is because of you! Can’t you see that?” They were maybe being a bit too loud. A bit too dramatic. But now two things in his life had been messed up, and Declan could trace it all back to Dean.

“Dec, I just don’t think getting involved with Soren is-“

“God,” Declan cut him off, as if Dean weren’t just trying to look out for him, “Can’t you let it go?”

“I’m trying to help you.” Dean certainly sounded like he meant it.

“That’d be a first, wouldn’t it? You wanna help me? Talk to Lauren.” Declan rolled his eyes, “No, you just go along with whatever she tells you to do, don’t you?”

“Dec, what’s wrong?”

“Just go away, Dean.”

And, this time, he did.