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the last of the real ones

New York

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a part of the last of the real ones, by partially-stars.

The city of dreams and destruction.

partially-stars holds sovereignty over New York, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

823 readers have been here.

Setting

Default Location for the last of the real ones
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New York

The city of dreams and destruction.

Minimap

New York is a part of the last of the real ones.

16 Characters Here

Lauren Clark [31] The world belongs to those brave enough to chase it.
Adonis Galante [20] "If you want a fight, you found your guy."
Olivia Eriksen [19] Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time
Gabriella Montez [18] "Please don't tempt me."
Erin Monaghan [17] "There's pieces of you in this town, and they carry me along."
Soren Bowers [16] you looked at death in a tarot card and you saw what you had to do.
Evie Addams [15] "at last, I'm free from my past."
Dean Sun [15] They say the devil that you know is better than the devil that you don't
Dylan Knight [15] "I got trust issues from trusting you."
Simon Rizzo [14] Music is the expression of the soul. Coffee maintains the soul.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Got any plans after this?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: 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

Image
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: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Declan Sun
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xxxx

xDean SunDeclan Sunx
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xxtroublemakerfuture surgeonxx
xx#A3333D#4A6670xx
xxoutfitoutfitxx

xxwith a guest appearance by gabriella montez
keepthese
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Declan might not have attended the party had Gabriela not said she was thinking about going, and Dean said he was certainly attending. Dec was pretty sure they’d only invited Dean because it felt wrong not to invite them both in the first place. Declan understood that, but sometimes they wished things weren’t like that. In his opinion, Dean was a good, but deeply flawed, person. Underneath all his issues he cared a lot.

The night of the party, Dean had swung by Declan’s place ahead of time because, well, it was on the way and Dean was trying to repair their relationship, and he wouldn’t be as well received if Dec wasn’t there with him. So he was there, sifting through Declan’s refrigerator while he waited for his sibling to get ready. Dean made a face as he pulled some rotting spinach out and tossed it in the garbage. Declan bought fresh food, but from the looks of the kitchen they never ate any of it. Dean couldn’t blame them, they were honestly too busy.

“Are you almost ready?” He called, long since tired of waiting around, “If we don’t hurry up people are going to think you won’t show.”

Declan had been so busy. Classes, studying, hospital rotations. It was dizzying and exhausting and left them little time for the small pleasures of life like taking their goddamn time getting ready for a party. “Yeah, I’m just-” He sighed, “It’s been so long, you know?” All their old friends were going to be there. Soren was going to be there. Maybe Simon. Dec wasn’t sure how to behave, or what kind of impression to make. Their social life had suffered for their excellent grades, and sometimes Declan wondered if he’d ever be normal again.

They left the cramped bathroom and came face-to-face with Dean, “Okay, I-” A pause, and a look around the room, “Were you going through my food?”

“Half of your shit was molding in the fridge,” Dean offered as an explanation, before turning to grab Declan’s keys and toss them at his brother, “Come on, parties are no fun if you’re the only sober ones there, and if we don’t hurry we will be.”

A subway ride and a couple blocks of walking later, and they were very nearly there.

“Dean,” Declan started, intending to ask Dean not to get Gabriella mixed up in whatever trouble he might concoct while at the party, but Dean waved them off before they got off the chance.

“I know this is my last fucking chance with most of these people,” He said, looking ahead, eyes not even glancing towards his brother, “Past it, even. I’ll be on my best behavior.”

Declan felt a little guilty. That was basically the gist of it, but they probably wouldn’t have been too harsh. “I just don’t want anyone to get hurt tonight, is all.”

There was a pregnant pause between the two of them.

“I know.” Dean finally replied. And after that, neither of them said much.

As they neared the building, Dean looked across the street and saw a squirrel behaving really erratically, and Dean pointed it out. “The fuck is that squirrel doing?”

Declan turned their head, eyebrow raised, “Let’s just get inside and leave it alone. Might be diseased or something.”

“Gross,” Dean mumbled as they entered the building.




They hadn't been there long before Dean vanished from Declan’s side and someone else found him, “Where the fuck have you been.”

Declan quickly tried to explain, tone apologetic, “My rotation this afternoon ran a little long and-”

“It doesn’t even matter. You’re here now. Don’t you dare leave me alone.”

Declan nodded at the interruption, “I wouldn’t dream of it.” He nodded along as she started detailing the gossip of the night, occasionally puncturing her comments with little interjections of “oh?”, or “no,” or even, “I knew it!”

Declan raised an eyebrow at Gabriella’s comment about Erin and Evie. They smirked, “Right down to the outfits.”

Dean had made it to the kitchen, and Declan shot him an awkward smile as they both reached out for Gabriella to hand them a beer. Then Robyn Miller, of all people, was greeting Dean like they were the best of friends. What the fuck.

There hadn’t been much for Dean to do besides ditch Declan once the two of them got to the party, and then they were quickly reunited in the kitchen. Dean shot a beaming grin at Dec and went on to his business. The goal for the evening was to get drunk, get laid, and have fun. He ran into someone on his way out of the kitchen, and was a little pissed off until he noticed it was Robyn. He smiled at her greeting, “Hey! It’s great to see you.”

“How have you been? How’s the restaurant?”

Dean nodded, “Busy,” He offered, as explanation for how both he and the restaurant were doing, “How about you? How’s-”

Then Jade showed up, blowing through the room like a whirlwind. He swallowed down his annoyance of being interrupted to put on the act of a kind and caring boyfriend, shrugging off her apology for being late. “Not my party.” He neglected to mention that he, himself, had also been a bit late. He returned Jade’s kiss, and had to fight the urge to roll his eyes when Jade went on talking to Robyn about Nate’s passing. The conversation was suddenly about Nate, and he wasn’t the center of it anymore, so he was very quickly growing bored. But he kept a polite, neutral smile glued to his face.

Gabriella, who had turned to face Declan when Jade entered the kitchen, still couldn’t resist glancing out her periphery as she heard Jade call another by the endearment once reserved for her. Doing her best not to react she took a drink from her beer, looking back to Declan to see his reaction. It was evident it was just as much of a surprise to him as it was Gabriella.

“I’m going to go to the bathroom,” Gabriella mumbled to Declan, slipping past him and out the kitchen.

Dec had no idea that Jade and Dean were… Together? He shook his head when Gabriella looked at him, trying to wordlessly convey that he would have told her had he known. He sighed, softly, to himself as she slipped past. She needed a minute, so he let her go.

Declan walked up to Dean and, with a smile, said, “Excuse me ladies,” They cut a sharp look at Jade, it only lasted a second, but it was long enough to convey their distaste for her. “Can I borrow my brother for just a minute?” With their normally-gentle hand on Dean’s shoulder, Declan led Dean out of the kitchen and to the first empty corner they could find and shoved him into it.

“What the hell, Dean?!”

“What?” Dean’s expression was incredulous, he hadn’t done anything. Of course, he didn’t know the truth about what had happened between Jade and Gabriella, but for fuck’s sake.

“Jade? Out of everyone in the world?”

Dean shrugged, but he was angry at Declan for pushing him. Dec could see it on his face, they knew Dean better than anyone. “I really don’t think it's any of your business.” Dean smiled; all teeth and no warmth, “Is it?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Dylan Knight Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez
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damien wolfe.
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outfit. soul. mental. #a77769.
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xxx insane, inside the danger gets me high
xxx can't help myself got secrets I can't tell
xxx i love the smell of gasoline
xxx i light the match to taste the heat
xxx i've always liked to play with fire

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outfit. james valdez. underboss.
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Damien was late for the party. This much was true. He received the invitation some days ago from a contact he much less had talked to in years. Not only did he have little interest in festivities tonight, but he did not know how he felt about being in a room filled with strangers. He hasn’t seen most of them since his high school days, but he decided to leave his past behind him. It was the only way he had any intentions to grow into who he has become today; a multi-billionaire with a successful tech business. But, that was the role he used as a distraction to keep others from discovering his truth. Beneath the surface, he was a notorious capo of the most dangerous drug cartel harboring connections overseas. His covert operation included managing the production, management, and promotion of drug trafficking, establishing alliances, and waging war with adjacent cartels. Today was his two-and-a-half-year anniversary in business, and each day wasn't getting any easier, particularly because his cartel was gaining traction across the board. The more well-known the cartel, the more sought they were by law enforcement. The strategy was straightforward: go in, get out, omertà. Even though Damien's name was kept hidden from the public, he still had some who put him to the test; they wanted what he had; they wanted power. Damien was always cautious not to allow anybody close to him, shutting his emotions off against things that might be used as leverage at some time, which is why he chose to remove people from his life. He nearly got murdered for being irresponsible, particularly since Damien did not discover the perpetrator until today. He set his eyes on anybody who represented a danger to him or his business.

The lengthy corridor appeared to go on indefinitely. The overhead lights that flanked the walkway were dimly illuminated and did not provide enough illumination. Still, it was dark and silent. The only noises heard were Damien's oxford cushioning the concrete surface and his lieutenants, James Valdez and Dwight Johnson, echoing his footsteps from behind him. They were doing business at Damien's corporate office in Manhattan when they heard from one of Damien's falcons that the guy responsible for Damien's assassination attempt had emerged from hiding two years earlier. That was an hour ago, but Damien directed the falcon to keep a tight watch on their target until one of the sicarios could abduct him. The victim was taken to one of the Wolfe cartel's warehouses on the outskirts of New York, in the middle of nowhere.

The three in charge were marching down the hall, referring to their authority. They were getting closer to the distant screams of someone being tortured; the noises reverberated as they rebounded off the walls. Finally, the three guys came to a halt in front of the rolling steel door and faced each other. “Are you sure that you want to do this, boss?" Dwight inquired, his face furrowed and his hands buried deep inside his tan business suit. Damien understood what Dwight meant. It was unusual for him to do the dirty job of sitting in on one of their prisoners being tortured, and no one ever saw Damien's face in their business unless they were about to die. Damien grabbed James' black vinyl gloves from his grasp and nodded, his jaw clenching as he slid his hands inside the gloves. Dwight took a breather, shifting his gaze from Damien to James, then back to Damien. He finally reached down to grasp the handle and pulled it over his head, causing the door to crash open. Three of their sicarios surrounded the man of the hour who sat on a chair slumped in the center of the room. His hands were tied, a cloth was around his mouth, and blood ran down the side of his head. His clothes were spattered with dried blood and filth. The prisoner squinted his eyes towards the direction of the light that peered through the stockroom's door. His gaze swept the three towering bodies before settling on Damien Wolfe. Damien was the proudest of them all; his hands clasped in front of him as he looked blankly at the prisoner. His eyes were dark and menacing, causing the guy to move in his chair and shake his head as he screamed a succession of 'no's.

"Hello, there." Damien's voice was scornful and evil as he said, “We meet again.” Damien entered the room with such elegance and assurance that two of his sicarios backed away hesitantly. He walked over to a corner and grabbed a chair, dragging it along the concrete floor towards his new friend. “Only this time,” he continued. “I'm the hunter,” he said as he sat in the chair in front of the prisoner, adjusting it so that the back post faced him. As the two guys sat face to face, examining each other, there was quiet. Damien saw that he had been severely battered, that his right eye was swollen, and that the sicarios busted his lip. However, he expressed no remorse for the guy who almost murdered him outside the restaurant if James hadn't intervened. He would have died because of the obnoxious jerk in front of him. Damien moved forward and snatched the handkerchief from his lips before resuming his seat.

“Now,” Damien snapped his fingers at one of his sicarios, who quickly turned over the silencer in his hands. “I trust I need no introduction. But who exactly are you?” Damien shifted his gaze away from the hefty metal in his palms, hoping for a response. When he never got one, Damien raised the gun above his head, pulling the trigger. The bullet bounced off the metal steel ceiling panels and rattled on the floor. Damien lowered his pistol and cocked his head to the side, aiming the barrel between the captive's eyes. “The next bullet is going through your head,” Damien said sternly. He dropped the pistol, even more, letting the weight of it lie freely in his hands as he leaned on the chair's upper rail.

“What is your name?" His voice was suddenly more audible. The prisoner scowled at Damien before bending forward towards the infamous boss and spatting on the ground. “Scarface,” he said, a wicked smile on his face, some of his teeth missing. “And I recognize you. Damien Wolfe, a pretty white boy who inherited most of his father's fortune, new to the drug business, and now has all this money he doesn't know what to do with-" His speech was cut short by the sound of Damien shooting the pistol. When he realized the bullet had gone through his foot, the guy shouted in pain. The sicarios and lieutenants gathered about, seeing the brutal questioning. Nobody ventured to enter the lion's den.

“Let's try this again,” Damien said calmly as he tightened the barrel on the pistol. “Who sent you?"

“F-fuck you,” the guy huffed, holding back the agony of his gunshot wound.

Damien jumped up from his chair, knocking it on the floor. He drew closer to the guy, resting his hands on the chair's armrest. "Who sent you!?" He yelled, spewing droplets of saliva into the man's face with the venom of each word. His face was flushed, and he was losing patience. But the guy refused to budge. He didn't react as Damien threw the chair across the room and waved the pistol in his face, threatening to kill him. When he was centimeters away from Damien's face, the grin on his face grew. “You already know who sent me.”

Damien wrinkled his brows in response to the man's remarks. He wasn't sure who could've sent Scarface to murder him since he had more enemies than he could count, all with the same objective. But whoever was responsible for this was unyielding, and he knew that if he didn't solve it right now, it would turn into an even larger issue. Damien pulled himself away from Scarface, exasperated. He walked about the room, squeezing his nose as his mind wandered. Many individuals wanted Damien dead, but no one has ever succeeded or even attempted to do so. They largely stayed away; therefore, the issue is, who is it? He came to a halt in his pacing and faced Scarface once more. He looked at him as if he knew the answers to all of his inquiries, but it was irritating when Scarface didn't participate. He was finally rendered ineffective when Damien pointed the pistol towards Scarface’s head and squeezed the trigger. He stood still as Scar's corpse fell on the chair. “Get rid of the body,” he said to the sicarios before turning on one heel, handing Dwight his pistol, and exiting the room.

After Damien's encounter with Scarface, minutes stretched into hours. ‘You know who sent me,' Damien let the words play back in his mind as he sat in the back of his Maserati with James, who sensed his boss was tense. They were sitting outside the party, and the booming bass of the music matched the fast pounding of his heart in his chest. When Damien and James got out of the vehicle, he fought down his apprehension and said, "Let's go." The two attractive, well-dressed guys approached the party but were halted by the sight of a squirrel writhing on the ground, white foam coming from its lips.

“The hell,” James said as he moved away from it. They watched as the squirrel ran off into the distance. Then, they walked inside, making a big entrance that drew a few heads in their way.

“I need to go the restroom,” Damien said above the music to James. James gave him a thumbs up before making his way through the crowds of people dancing in the direction of the kitchen for drinks. Damien made his way through the throng to the restroom, taking out his phone to send a series of texts to Dylan.

To Wifey Dyl:
where are you?
are you still mad at me?
come home.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of the people she could, and would ruin.




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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

Only Julian shared Livvy's love of art.

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

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

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

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

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

Livvy, she thought, Shut the hell up.







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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

Mother fucking, god damn Lauren Mother Fucking Clark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez
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co-written by leisurelyatwar


Before Robyn could even say anything back to Jade, Declan made his way over. He seemed to push in between them harder than Jade had done just a hot minute ago.
”Excuse me ladies, can I borrow my brother for just a minute?”
Jade could see the hate in his eyes, but answered with a smile on her face.
”Oh hey Deckie, didn’t see you there.” she said feigning surprise.
”Sure you can borrow him. He’s your brother after all. My word…, those bags under your eyes are getting bigger by the day. Do you get enough rest between shifts?”

Declan did not stick around to answer, but grabbed Dean by the shoulder and let him out of the kitchen. Jade smiled and waved after them.

Looking back at Robyn, the widow had a puzzled smile on her face.
”So Jade? How long have you and Dean been together? I don’t recall him mentioning anything, my bad.”

It’s not like they were anything exclusive, so Jade would have been very surprised if Dean had told anyone. ”We've been exploring each other’s pants for a while now, but I'm not keeping count. What about you, where do you get your ... uhmm.. excitement now?” She wondered if Miss Goody Two Shoes ever had any real excitement. Going with the same guy since high school wasn’t particularly experimental.

“Oh, uh. Nothing really. Don’t feel ready to get back out there, you know?” Robyn answered as if she had ever been ‘out there’.

Jade pushed out her lip and shook her head a bit. If there was any time to get back into the game for Robyn, it would be now. "Well, don't wait too long. I mean... it's not like he's gonna come back. Now, if you excuse me, if you see Dean, just tell him I'm off to the ladies room." Jade stepped away from Robyn and moved into the direction of the bathroom, where she had just seen Gabriella go as well.

Suddenly the party felt too crowded, the music too loud. Gabriella kept a hand along the walls of the hall as she worked towards the bathroom, her gaze lowered. She hadn’t expected Jade to stay single, Gabriella sure hadn’t been chaste since their break. That Gabriella had been prepared for. However, seeing Jade’s lips lock with Dean’s made her stomach turn. It wasn’t jealousy - no it was more visceral than that. She felt dirty, disgusted. As much as she wanted to be angry with Dean she knew that he was just a toy in Jade’s manipulations. Her bar for him was already so low it was impossible for Dean to surprise her anymore with a new low. Jade however met new levels of deception every day.

There was a line outside the bathroom, Gabriella leaning against the wall and crossing her arms. Her eyes were narrowed in a way she only did when deep in thought, staring blankly at the wall across from her. She probably should have just gone home but she didn’t want Jade knowing that she’d been able to have that effect on her.

Jade had expected a line at the bathroom and she wasn’t disappointed. She stared from a distance, eyeing the girl she had been with for quite some time. She looked good, but not nearly as good as when Ella’s head would be laying in her lap. So high on whatever she was given she could not make sense of the world anymore. [color=#cboe36]God, how I miss those days.[/color]

She walked over, and although her high heels should have made clicking noises with every step, somehow she was silent. She saw how deep in thought Ella was. She could not even have noticed how Jade had been walking up close to her, standing behind her in line.
“Oh Ella, here you are” again faking her surprise.
“And here I was, thinking you were avoiding me somehow.”

Gabriella could feel Jade’s presence before she heard her, the hairs on the back of her neck standing up. Jade always had that effect on her. Her therapist said it was the result of prolonged psychological manipulation, that Jade wanted Gabriella a little afraid of her. As much as Gabriella agreed with her it was hard to accept that that’s all their relationship had been.

Jade’s mock surprise was convincing but Gabriella knew that Jade was too intelligent to leave anything to chance. Though Gabriella had long committed the lines and curves of Jade’s face to memory, seeing her again this close Gabriella had to catch her breath. Of course her lips were painted red, Gabriella’s gaze glancing down at them instinctually. They were even more inviting than she remembered. Looking away suddenly to break the spell Jade had over her, it took a few seconds to regain her faculties.

“What do you want, Jade?” Gabriella asked flatly, keeping her gaze fixed on the wall across them. She was tired of these games.
Jade moved sideways, getting directly in Gabriella’s eyeline. “What do I want? You seriously have to ask me what I want? Why do you think I’ve been trying to call you and message you?

Jade took a step closer, they nearly touched each other now. They were of very similar height, so Jade tried her best to stare deep into Gabriella’s eyes.
“Please babez, don’t look so sad, it does nothing for you. I miss your smile.”

Gabriella pushed herself from the wall, grateful for the extra height her heels had given to be able to look down at Jade. She seemed so small from this angle, almost harmless. Like the blossom of a poisonous plant trying to lure in its prey. Gabriella had been preparing for the moment when she saw Jade again well over a year. She had convinced herself if she knew what was coming she would be able to deflect it. Unfortunately no amount of intellectualizing could outwit Jade’s natural effect on others, Gabriella struggling not to become reactive.

“Will you please just say whatever it is that you need to say so I can go back to my life and you can go be with Dean.” Gabriella knew she sounded jealous, and maybe she was a little. It stung to see Jade with another, regardless of whatever messiness they had unresolved between them.

Jade enjoyed every bit of it. She still had her influence over Gabriella. She had always told Jade everything with her mouth shut. Her face, her movement, the moments when she blinked, all of it was telling Jade what she already knew. She still had a hold over her.
“Aawwe babez, you’re not jealous are you? Me and Dean have a very different kind of… connection.”

Jade looked compassionately at Gabriella. “Shame babez, you look stressed.” She put her hand on her bag, leaned in close and changed to a whisper. “I have something to calm you down if you like. Nothing heavy, I swear, just something to take the edge off and make sure you can enjoy your night.”

“Are you fucking serious?” A response that Gabriella had said in a very different tone once upon a time, now delight replaced with malice. Any bit of control that Gabriella had over her reactions was out the window. She clenched her fists, her nails digging into her palms.

“You are poison, Jade.” Gabriella seethed.
Jade leaned back, a bit surprised at the hard reaction. She wasn’t used to Gabriella talking this way to her, but it didn’t mean this was over.

“No need to get hostile, sweetie. I’m only poison to those that choose to see me like that.” Jade saw how they were up next for the bathroom. The line had moved slowly during their conversation. In a quick move Jade softly put her hand on Gabriella’s.
“You know what. I’ll go to the bathroom first. I’ll just leave the pill there for you. And you can decide to flush it, or take it, no harm done. You don’t owe me a thing, and I wouldn’t even know.”

Jade pulled her hand from Gabriella’s and held the door open as the previous person just came out. “Won’t be a minute.” she smiled warmly at her ex, as if they just had a friendly conversation.

Gabriella felt frozen in place, still feeling the shadow of Jade’s hand around hers. The worst part was that no matter what, Jade would always leave Gabriella wishing she could get high. It wasn’t just the association she made with her ex. Jade made her feel out of control. When she was using she convinced herself she liked not having to make any decisions for herself but look where it got her. Staring ahead at the door Jade disappeared behind, Gabriella held her breath waiting for it to open again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Damien Wolfe Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez
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ImageImageOnce inside Jade redid her make up a bit and washed her hands. Making Gabriella stew in her own thoughts for a bit. From her bag, she took one of the pill bottles and took the cap off. She shook out a few pills on her hand and picked the one she was looking for. It wasn’t the heaviest, but it was more the temptation than the actual effect in any case.

She put the pill on the side of the sink. There was a jar of crystals as decoration, and Jade picked out the green ones, knowing it was Gabriella’s favorite color. She placed them in the shape of a heart around the pill, making it stand out. All finished she opened the door again to let Gabriella in.

After sending the texts to Dylan, Damien slipped effortlessly through the throng of inebriated individuals towards the direction of the bathroom. Out of office, Damien retained his authoritarian image, compelling people to get out of his way. In contrast, others stood in awe of the sumptuous grandeur of what was Mr. Wolfe casually walking by. He was aware that they were watching him, and he desired that they do so. He wasn't an attention seeker, yet he exuded the kind of assurance that goes unnoticed. Damien worked hard to have his name plastered on billboards all around New York City. He was in charge of the room, and he looked fantastic doing it.

When he turned into the corridor, he wasn't shocked to find many individuals waiting in line for the toilet, whether they needed to use it or whether they planned to snort lines privately. Damien was a little irritated by the latter's notion since it reminded of his mother who died of an overdose when he was just four years old. He didn't recall much of what happened that night since his thinking process was still forming. Damien did, however, recall the neglect he felt days before they were found, as well as cops taking him away from the terrible sight. So, knowing that some of them were just there to take heavy drugs, he was not happy. Damien was well aware of how it typically ended; he was also aware of how it could destroy someone. Similarly, because Damien was the source provider, it started to ruin him, but business is business. Nothing mattered as long as Damien remained in power.

He was ready to turn around to avoid standing in line when he spotted a familiar face in the crowd. It was Gabriella Montez, his wife's close friend and the woman he was having an affair with. He watched her from afar, awestruck by the sensuous way her clothing embraced each curve of her flawless figure. There was no denying she was incredibly sexy; Damien was drawn to her like a mosquito to a flame, but he didn't mind the burn.

Having her in his company was risky since Dylan was unaware of their sexual connection. He was free to kiss and fuck whoever he pleased, but with Gabriella, things were different, and he didn't want Dylan to know he had feelings for her best friend. Thus, he was prepared to take the risk when he started approaching her. “Ms. Gabriella Montez,” he greeted her, the sound of her name lingering on his tongue with delight, “you look good as always.” She seemed to be more than attractive, as shown by the provocative grin that stretched over his face, the same smile that had brought them together in the first place. He leaned towards her ear, placing his palm on the wall next to her head, and said, "Really good."

This is the part when they would simultaneously pull each other's clothing off; she would reiterate that it was a terrible idea, but they would go ahead and do it anyway. He moved his head away from hers and examined her from the side, paying special attention to her cleavage. He was about to continue speaking when the restroom door opened in front of them, prompting Damien to pull away slightly from Gabriella. He stood there watching as Jade Davies, the troublemaker, walked out, holding the door open.

The expression on her face told Damien she was up to something, and having grown up with Jade, he knew nothing good could come of it. “Ah, there she is,” he said sarcastically, “still getting into trouble I see.” It wasn't a question. He was well aware that certain things never changed, and this was true for Jade. Damien grew up in Brooklyn alongside her and her brother, Julian, when he was in foster care. He attempted to keep her from bad habits, but she was just as obstinate as he was. Finally, seeing her after all these years gave Damien faith that she was in a better place.

Standing now in between Jade and Damien, there was little time for Gabriella to process her situation. Damien had swooped in while she was still recovering from the wake of Jade’s presence, his voice snapping her back to reality. Where Jade had left Gabriella feeling cold and hollow, Damien’s devilish smile and familiar expression was enough to fill her with fire. She had every intention of indulging him, admittedly because she wanted Jade to see Gabriella had other much more powerful people looking out for her now. Before Gabriella could step in towards him the door opened again, prompting Damien to move back.

As Jade opened the door she saw a familiar face. She got a big smile on her face as if she hadn’t seen him in years. “Damien! My Brooklyn brother!”
She stepped past Gabriella giving him a quick hug with her arms around his neck. As she let go she stepped back a bit and put her hand on his wrist. “How have you been? Looking mischievously into his eyes, she paid no attention to Gabriella.

Gabriella looked down to Jade’s hand over Damien’s wrist. She wasn’t sure why but it made her ill at ease. There was a part of Gabriella that would never be able to stop herself from over analyzing every little thing Jade said or did. She did it for so long it was innate even after having avoided her for over a year.

“I’ll let you two catch up.” Gabriella said as she went into the bathroom, only glancing over Jade to give Damien a look implying she hoped to see him the next time she opened the door - alone.

Gabriella had been so distracted by Damien's sudden appearance she almost forgot why she had been angry in the first place. He had that effect on her. In truth she was addicted; to the thrill, to the sex, to him. It was the same thing with Jade. Before she thought it was just the drugs but it was more than that. The danger of never knowing what comes next was exhilarating . . . until it wasn't.

Staring up at her were little green things arranged in the shape of a heart around a single pill. Gabriella's initial instinct was to flush them but every time she tried to reach for them she froze. She didn't trust herself to let go of it. It wasn't that she wanted to do drugs, it's just that it was difficult to just get rid of them. Once they were gone they were gone - but if she could hold onto them then she could just know where they were.

Something in this scenario surfaced a memory from the recesses of her mind. It was common with her recovery to have random things trigger memories from when she was using. It had been during one of her relapses, trying to play off that she was sober to Evie. She became paranoid they might search her for drugs she had hidden them. Thinking about it now she never came back for them, she wondered if they were in the same spot . . .

Jade had given Gabriella a side glance when the latter turned into the bathroom. She didn’t know what was going on between her and Damien, but she didn’t need Damien to mess up her plan. She thought her ex might be more inclined to take the pill if she could hear Jade having a great time with Damien. Anything and everything to work on her nerves, to have her need that relaxation only one of those pills could give her.

Damien was taken aback in the hallway outside the restroom when Jade rushed into his arms for an embrace. He let his hands hang at his sides, unsure what to do with them, before eventually hugging her back. When she referred to him as a "Brooklyn brother," he grinned to himself, recalling the wonderful times he had with her and Julian before he went upstate.

Damien's lips curled into a grin when Jade drew away from him and smiled. He'd always had a soft spot for Jade, even as children, but it was never romantic. He treated her as though she were the little sister he never had and protected her accordingly. Damien even sends money to her bank account anonymously to assist her in paying for her medical school education.

Damien was so absorbed in Jade's presence that he missed Gabriella entering the bathroom. “I'm doing well,” he said, “I took over my father's business after graduating from Harvard... you remember? Wolfe Enterprises on Wall Street? You should come by someday. I'd be happy to give you a tour.”

Jade smiled broadly at his suggestion. “Oh my, you’re going to be sorry for that offer. You know I still don’t let any chances get by me.” she added a subtle wink.
“You ever go back to the old neighborhood? They will be surprised the scruffy kid turned out like this.”

She thought back on their run ins as kids. Damian had been at their house a few times. And although Julian could do no good for her mom, Damian could do no wrong. He had this kind of charm about him. Jade pulled her phone from her pocket. “Give me your number, so I can give you a call when I come by. I’ll bring you a coffee, promise.” She unlocked it and put it in his hands to put his number in.

“I really hadn’t expected to see you here. Isn’t this party a bit minor for Mr. Big shot?” She laughed as she said it. Not cause it was funny, but because she was sure Gabriella would be able to hear it.

The sound of Jade's laughter broke Gabriella's train of thought. She should have called her sponsor but she was weakened. Gabriella scooped the pill up, slipping them into a secret inner pocket of her jacket. She made sure to flush in case Jade was listening so that she could cast some idea of doubt that she kept the pill. Funny that she had come to the bathroom to try to escape Jade, just to be cornered and slipped drugs and virtually trapped with the two drug dealers she's fucked standing outside the door. Gabriella leaned against the door listening intently to see if Jade was still out there.

Jade heard the flush inside the bathroom. Of course that didn’t say anything. Gabriella had been there to specifically go to the bathroom, but somehow Jade had the idea her plan worked. She took her phone back from Damian.
“Well, I’m sure I haven’t seen all of the ol’ gang just yet. Will you excuse me?!”

She looked up at him with big eyes, just like she had done so many times when they were still kids and she leaned up to kiss his cheek. Letting him go she walked to the end of the hallway before turning around. “Oh, Damien? Don’t forget to say hi to Ju, I’m sure he’s looking forward to seeing you.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Monaghan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Olivia Eriksen Character Portrait: Adonis Galante Character Portrait: Julian Davies
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xLivvy EriksenJulian Daviesx
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"Artists Unite"

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xxoutfit.outfit.xx



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Evie Addams
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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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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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Evie didn’t want to abandon Erin to the flames of Lauren’s wrath, but she wanted to avoid Lauren even more. And besides, Erin had always been one of a handful of people who could actually stand up to Lauren. So Evie squeezed her hand in return and slunk away, eager to avoid Lauren’s gaze. She swung briefly by the kitchen to get a drink, but then found herself wandering aimlessly around the apartment, mostly just trying to avoid Lauren as best as she could.

She made the mistake of stepping out onto the balcony for some fresh air once she noticed it wasn’t as crowded as it had been, the party suddenly beginning to feel suffocating. She hadn’t managed to get back to Erin yet; Lauren always seemed to be hanging around, her eyes fixed on either Erin herself or on someone in the vicinity as her next target. She wanted to catch up with Erin, to see what had happened, to make sure she was okay. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt quite as… free as when she’d been dancing with Erin. They’d just been having fun, not worrying about anything for the first time in what felt like forever. And then Lauren had walked in and ruined that. Actual anger flared in Evie’s stomach for the first time in what felt like forever. As if summoned by that flare of anger, she heard a familiar voice behind her.

“Hello, Evie, darling,” Lauren purred. Evie’s blood ran cold again. She whirled around to face Lauren; and to see if escape was likely, or even possible. Lauren had positioned herself in such a way that Evie probably could escape past her, but Lauren could also easily stop her. Lauren’s smile widened ever so slightly.

“Lauren.” Evie’s tone was as cold and as venomous as she could muster while also managing to sound somewhat civil for the sake of the few onlookers. Lauren sauntered over to Evie, almost backing her into a corner. Once upon a time, Evie probably would have shrunk back into that corner. Instead, she stood tall and strong. The height difference between the two of them wasn’t quite as apparent as it had been in the past, with Evie holding herself taller, but Lauren still almost towered over her. She used her height to her advantage, she always had done. But when Evie didn’t shrink back, simply defiantly tilted her chin to look Lauren straight in the face, she swore that she saw surprise flicker across Lauren’s face for the first time. Evie smiled ever so slightly at that.

“It’s lovely to see you again, Evie. That dress… well, I wouldn’t have put it on someone of your build-” Lauren started. Evie raised an eyebrow. She knew this tactic well. Lauren had used it hundreds of times before, always claiming that she’d meant it as a compliment or was going to follow it up with a compliment whenever anyone called her out on it. Evie had obsessed over those comments, trying to figure out if they were compliments or not. Now, she could see them for what they were.
“Can I help you with something?” She interjected. Again, that flicker of surprise across Lauren’s face.

“I just wanted to talk to my old friend again. I know that you were stressed with the moving and everything the last time that I saw you and you didn’t mean those things you said, so I just wanted to let you know that I didn’t take them to heart,” Lauren said. Evie laughed, a take on Lauren’s own cruel, sarcastic laugh.

“That’s a shame. And a bit embarrassing for you, actually. Because I did mean those things. I don’t want you in my life. End of story,” she said, with a small shrug.
“Do you expect me to apologise again?”
“You didn’t really apologise in the first place, to be honest. You apologised for dodging my texts while I was in hospital, sure. But this problem goes way deeper than that. And besides, I don’t believe you’ve changed in the slightest from the person you used to be. So you can apologise all you want, but as far as I’m concerned, it won’t mean anything. Because you’re still doing the exact same things you used to do to me, and to Jade, and to everyone that you called your friends. So no. I don’t need your apologies.”

Evie could almost see the moment that Lauren made the snap decision to change tactics and to go on the attack. She dropped the fake smile, the demure posture, and her whole demeanour shifted to a more aggressive one. Evie had seen this happen before, and there was a part of her that screamed to take her words back, to stop before she experienced the worst of Lauren. And then Evie reminded herself; she’d already experienced the worst of her, and she’d come through it. She could handle the fire.

“You ungrateful little bitch. Don’t you realise the things I could do for you? Being on my side-”
“No, thanks. I’ve got people on my side already.”
“Who? You really think that people like Gabriella and Erin are going to actually be any good for you? How many times has Gabriella dragged you into her bullshit and forced you to help her pick up the pieces? And as for Erin, well, if you knew the things I’d know, you’d soon ditch her and come running back to me.”

Evie’s anger flared. She could take Lauren’s mind games, she could take digs at her, but Lauren talking shit about her friends, about the people who had helped her rebuild, was the final straw for her.

“No, I wouldn’t. Because unlike you, Lauren, they’re genuinely good people. Yes, I sometimes help them out with their problems. But that’s because they help me with mine. Friends help each other out. It’s what they do. But you heard that I was seriously ill in hospital, and you ignored my texts for a month. You were never on my side, Lauren, so I’m never going to be on yours again.”

Evie went to shove past Lauren, but Lauren was quicker, shoving Evie back a step, back into the corner. “Please. I’d been dealing with you and your pathetic bullshit for years before that. You’d come crying to me about all your problems and expect me to patch them up. I helped you. I saved you from getting your silly little heart broken, I tried to help you out with serious health tips, I was your friend for years. And then, suddenly, I take some time for myself, and you side with the people who have been bad-mouthing me for years, and who I specifically warned you away from. You deserve whatever bullshit they wrap you up in, you know that?”

Evie met Lauren’s eyes with a cold, hard stare. “You didn’t help me. You consistently manipulated me, and you took advantage of the fact that I was desperate for someone to look up to. You never cared about the fact I was sick. If anything, you just used that to your advantage. You were manipulative and hateful and I’d gladly take whatever bullshit my friends wrap me up in now over ever being anywhere near you again.”
“You’re believing everything they’re telling you, huh? Let me guess, those pathetic doctors believed your stories about how I mistreated you and can’t tell that you’ve been lying the whole time for the sake of attention? You know that you were prettier back then, right? Has anyone told you that? You claim that you were sick, well, I think that you looked better then than you do now,” Lauren said, with a venomous, wicked smile. Evie felt like she was going to throw up at that. Lauren’s smile became victorious, and she turned on her heel, sauntering away from Evie.

Evie turned to look out at the city in front of her. But she wasn’t focusing on the view. She was trying to steady her breathing and cover the fact that her whole body was shaking. Those old familiar thoughts were beginning to swirl around her head, and her hands wrapped around the railing of the balcony, clutching onto it in search of something to ground her. She could hear whispering voices and feel people’s gaze on her, but she couldn’t quite drag herself out of that pit enough to care about them.

Setting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Robyn Miller Character Portrait: Jade Davies Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Declan Sun Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxThere's L.A. but it's always kinda sunny out
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<3
Robyn nodded when Dean mentioned being busy, it made sense. She cocked her head a bit, listening to what he was about to ask when she almost fell over when someone walked past her, but blamed it on the tight spaces of the atmosphere and people drinking. Though Robyn was surprised to see it was Jade and her friendly greeting with Dean, she didn’t remember him mentioning her at all during some of their talks at his work. She was about to sneak away when she saw Gabriella walking through the crowd, but was brought back when Jade turned and spoke to her.

As Jade spoke, Robyn started with a smile and was about to return the greeting when Jade brought up Nathan. Robyn’s demeanor changed immediately, a bit more solemn look crossed over her face. This was one of her worries about coming to this party, being constantly reminded about her husband and the accident. Of course people would ask if she was okay, but she was here to try to enjoy herself and forget about all the bad for at least a night. She darted her eyes to the ground and rubbed her arm for a moment, trying to compose herself and get ahold of her emotions. Robyn only looked back up when Jade spoke again, offering anything to help if needed. “Yeah, it’s been-” Robyn started to speak, slowly and with a light mumble, but was cut off when Dean’s brother interjected and pulled him away.


She was thrown off a bit with Declan pulling Dean away so quickly, but it gave her enough of a distraction from the current conversation with Jade. “Weird…” Robyn spoke out loud, more so to herself rather than to Jade or anyone else. “So Jade? How long have you and Dean been together? I don’t recall him mentioning anything, my bad.” She asked Jade, throwing out a smile. Robyn was genuinely curious about the two of them, especially since she felt like her and Dean were starting to get close.

Robyn let out a slight giggle with how Jade explained her and Dean, but then took a bit back by asking how she was… ‘getting her excitement.’ “Oh, uh.” She stuttered for a moment. “Nothing really. Don’t feel ready to get back out there, you know?” She shrugged, hoping Jade would understand what she meant. Robyn struggled with herself and trying to figure what to do with herself and her dating future. Not sure what Nate would “approve” or look down upon her for doing. Jade’s next moment threw Robyn off. it's not like he's gonna come back. Jade’s words hung around Robyn, even after she left, saying something about the ladies’ room. Robyn hovered around the kitchen for a bit, downing two quick cups of the alcoholic punch. She let out a few deep breaths before grabbing another drink she was going to bring to Simon and headed out of the kitchen hoping Simon wouldn’t be too upset that she took a bit too long.

As she walked back into the open space, she scanned the room and finally settled on Simon and took a step towards him. But she stopped when she noticed someone he was talking to, Camilla Rhodes. Robyn was surprised to see her here, they didn’t exactly end on bad terms either so there wasn’t any bad blood between them. But she knew about Camilla and Simon’s past, and felt a bit of envy seeing her talking to Simon, though she wasn’t entirely sure why.

All of the sudden the room stood still, Robyn shifted her gaze to where everyone else was, and saw Lauren. The last person she expected to see here. She just sat back and watched. Her and Lauren weren’t on bad terms, and might even be friends if they spoke, but the blonde woman had a secret she held over Robyn’s head that she didn’t want anyone to find out about, so she typically avoided her. Robyn turned away after seeing Lauren greet Camilla and decided she didn’t want to deal with the old friend at the moment and hoped to get away.

“Robbie!” The voice rung in her ears, and it seemed like Robyn hadn’t been able to get away in fact. Robyn let out a sigh and turned around facing Lauren. “Hey Lauren! It’s been awhile hasn’t it?” She asked, with a smile on her face, still holding the two drinks in her hand, one meant for Simon. “It truly has, hasn’t it? For me? Thanks.” Lauren spoke, taking one of the drinks out of Robyn’s hand. “Kind of a bummer party. Expected more from a self proclaimed rockstar.” She continued, throwing a laugh out and taking a sip of her drinking.

“Ye-” Robyn began to talk, but was cut off by Luaren. “So, see you're still wearing those rings. Didn’t he passed a year now?” She asked bluntly. Like with Jade, she was taken back by the comment. “Uh, Y-yeah. It helps. Helps remember him.” She took a glance down at her ring after speaking. “Mhmm. I bet Robbie.” Lauren set down her drink and took Robyn’s from her and set hers down too. Lauren was now holding both her hands now, pulling her gaze to meet her own. “Listen here darling. You have to learn to move on. Do you really think Nathan would want you to be sulking around?” She paused.

Lauren’s voice seemed to have empathy in it as she spoke. “You’re still a beautiful woman, and shouldn’t be held up hiding all of that from the world.” Robyn flashed a smile to Lauren. “Thanks Laur.” “Anytime Robbie. And you know Nathan wasn’t much to begin with.” This made Robyn react with a quizzical look. “You know what I mean. Just another poor savior child, much like Julian. Ending up behind bars, probably would’ve been Nathan if you didn’t have your savior complex.” Robyn pulled back from Lauren. “It’s not like that. What happened to Julain was terrible, and Nath-” “Nathan what Robyn? I know he still visited his buddy behind bars. Plus you always knew there was better out there, or do you not remember that night with you in that sexy cheer outfit after graduation?” She continued, slapping Robyn lightly on the ass.

Robyn was speechless from what Lauren was saying. She wanted to move on from that drunken night. “Just, leave me alone Lauren.” Robyn said, taking a step past Lauren, but being yanked back, into a close embrace with her. “Oh come on. You loved that night. Maybe Nate’s passing is a good thing, a sign we should reignite some things.”

In the next moment there was a loud smack, and Robyn was standing a few feet from Lauren, holding her face after she was just slapped. “How dare you. Nathan deserved better than what happened. Maybe it would be better if you were dead and he was here instead.” Robyn was practically yelling at this point, and people had taken notice of what just developed. She didn’t pay attention to whatever reply Lauren said as she stormed off.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Simon Rizzo
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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: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Gabriella Montez Character Portrait: Dean Sun Character Portrait: Declan Sun
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”Why are you the way that you are?” When Dean just shrugged, uninterested, Declan sighed. ”God, you’re like a sociopath or something. I wish you could just be normal. Maybe then you could have some fucking empathy and not go through life hurting everyone you look at.” It wasn’t totally fair, considering Dean didn’t know why Declan was so upset about him seeing Jade, but Dec was so over Dean’s bad behavior. They’d been dealing with it since the two of them were four years old, and it had only gotten more and more played out with every passing year.

”Gee, Dec,” Dean replied, sounding nothing less than completely and utterly bored, ”Why don’t you tell me how you really feel?”

Declan rolled their eyes, ”Just don’t fuck anything up,” He turned too quickly to catch Dean’s icy glare, not interested in fighting with his brother at that moment. What he really wanted was to have a few drinks, maybe find someone to talk to. Everyone seemed pretty busy, though. Where was Gabriella? They wanted to check in with her, make sure she was doing okay. Declan finished that first drink quickly enough, and decided to swing by the kitchen to grab another before looking for one of their friends in earnest. They grabbed the drink, but instead of a friend, Declan found Lauren.

”Declan!” She said, as if she were an old friend he would want to catch up with, and not a demon in disguise. ”Look at you,” She said, taking in his appearance, ”Brave as ever.”

”Hi Lauren,” Declan said, his tone was measured, careful. There was no such thing as too careful when it came to Lauren. ”What can I do for you?”

”Just catching up with old friends,” She said, looping her arm through Dec’s, so she could lead them someone a bit more private to talk, ”I’ve heard the most interesting developments in some of our mutual acquaintances' lives.”

”Have you?” Declan mused, careful not to sound too interested or take too much of Lauren’s bait, though they did let her guide them off to a more desolate area in the apartment. She’d never been overly interested in them in the past, never come their way to share gossip. She wanted something. Declan didn’t know what, but he knew he wasn’t going to give it to her.

”It got me thinking of you,” Lauren said, tone sounding more wistful than anything, as if she were simply reminiscing. That couldn’t be good, ”And how you helped me back in high school. Do you remember that?”

Declan’s blood ran cold. ”Of course.” He said slowly, unsure. He hadn’t thought of helping Lauren cheat on the SATs in ages, but he knew immediately that was what she was referring to.

”Well,” She said with a sigh that Declan had no doubt was fake, ”I’ve got a great career and life now, and the whole thing’s left me feeling a little guilty, you know?”

Of course that’s what this was about. She’d gone out and gotten the life she wanted, and now she wanted to ruin his. She couldn’t report that, it may have been years later but Declan would almost certainly be kicked from his program if it came to light, and she knew it. ”Lauren,” He said slowly, trying not to give his panic away. It was hard, but giving her the pleasure of a reaction was the worst choice you could make, ”That’s not really necessary, is it? After all, we were only cheating a rigged system and-”

Lauren cut them off would a short, but blunt, sound of pure disgust, ”Declan. I’m going to report it. I thought you were more principled than that,”

”This is my life we’re talking about Lauren, my future I-”

”Oh, who gives a shit.” Declan didn’t know what to say to that, and just stared at Lauren, mouth agape and eyes wide. Lauren stared him down with an expression that reminded Declan of an angry housecat. It struck Declan that this might be more about Lauren than it was just messing with him. ”If your brother wasn’t such a low achiever, I wouldn’t have to stoop this low.”

”What did Dean-”

”He’s spreading lies is what he’s doing,” Lauren spat, reaching to put a hand on Declan’s shoulder, ”But you and I both know he won’t listen to reason. Maybe he can find you a job, though.”

Dec reached up to move Lauren’s hand and she flinched, dramatically, as if he’d ever hurt a fly. ”Lauren, you don’t have to do it.”

”No, but if you can’t talk some sense into your idiot brother, it would make me feel better.” She patted Declan’s shoulder gently, and then turned to leave.

God fucking dammit. Why’d Declan have to go off on Dean. He’d never listen now.