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Elena Ramos

0 · 2,073 views · located in New York, NY

a character in “The Lost and Found”, as played by Sophiex

Description

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Full Name:
Elena Maria Ramos

Preferred Name
Elena or Lena

Age:
22

Birthday:
September 1st

Sexuality:
Heterosexual

Hometown:
Bronx, NY

Length of time on the street:
She's been on and off the streets since she was eighteen, but her most recent stint began about a week ago

Role:
The Old Friend


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Disposition:
A hard life tends to lead to a hard personality, and that's at least partially the case for Elena. There's still a little bit left of "her" somewhere inside, but it's hidden by a thick shell of defensiveness. Becoming defensive and cold is something that seems like a necessary survival skill for getting through a life like her, and at this point, she's embraced it. She cares about very few people and doesn't try to hide that. She doesn't sugarcoat things, suppress her opinions or act out of character to comfort anyone's sensitivity or ignorance. It's partially because she doesn't care, and partially because she feels like the world has done the same thing to her for most of her life, and it's time for her to return the favor.

It goes against how she wants to be, but there's also a competitive spirit in Elena. She wouldn't mind if that pushed her to do well in school, go to college and make something out of herself, but it only shows up in relationships with people. She spent her whole life feeling like who she was wasn't good enough. For her, she grew to believe that a lot of it was her race, something that she couldn't change, rather than her own personality. That translated into her now, feeling like she needs to prove to the world that she can't be messed with and that she's not just equal to everyone else, but better than them. To be fair, this has grown past just wanting to prove herself, and into a tendency to lie and create a fantasy life to make up for her sub par one. It started with white lies when she would run into old friends. She would say that she was attending a local community college and on her way to become an RN, and that she visited her family in Colombia a couple times a year thanks to her great job. But that grew into her claiming she had met a wealthy guy who she shared an apartment with in Manhattan, and then that she also spent half the year in California, that she was pursuing an acting career, and so on. The lies have become completely outrageous but in some sick way, being able to pretend that that's her life has become comforting to her. None of these fantasies would be considered dreams because they wouldn't come true in her wildest dreams but they're momentary escapes and all she really has.

Likes:
Colombian cuisine, vodka, having money, treating herself, speaking to her family

Dislikes:
Dogs, white people, reading, maple syrup, black coffee, beggars, Taco Bell, wine coolers, her reality, prison, being single

Fears:
It would probably be more reasonable to fear being raped, beaten and murdered when she used to prostitute, but the biggest thing that was always on her mind was getting an STD. It extends past the obvious point of her not having money to throw away on treating it or seeing a doctor, but her personal hygiene is one of her top priorities and she's easily grossed out by being dirty, despite always having lived in less than desirable places. She also reasonably fears that she will never see her family again and that she'll always be a disappointment to them.

Dreams:
Who doesn't dream of getting off the streets, living in some nice, white picket fence house, with the perfect partner and having a cute little family? It's the American Dream... but in Elena's eyes, and experience, it's the American Dream for white people. People like her will always be the ones mowing the lawn or cleaning the toilets of those houses and even if she tries her hardest, tries ten times harder than some white kid, she'll always been ten steps behind. Elena dreams of all of that but is convinced that it's never going to happen. There are days when she really wants to go back to school and make something of herself, days when she dreams of being six feet under, and days when she dreams of just conjuring up enough cash to get a one way flight to her family in Colombia. She doesn't have enough motivation to do any of them at this point, and her current goal is just to never get arrested again.


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Background:
Elena was born in the Bronx to two Colombian immigrants who were in the country illegally. They didn't want it to be that way and tried for years to get the court to grant them and their older son citizenship to no avail. They spent thousands of dollars on a lawyer, only to find out that he represented them fraudulently and because they weren't citizens to begin with, there was little that they could do to get the money back or seek justice in anyway. Both of her parents worked endlessly to try to give Elena and her brother Diego a better life than they had in Colombia. Her father worked with a landscaping business and her mother with a housecleaning company, but even with the two working schedules of fifty or sixty hours a week, it was hard to survive. They were sending money back to Colombia where the rest of their family was struggling to survive, trying to keep up with the rent and bills, and attempting to obtain any resource that could help them become Americans. Their story was the epitome of that of many immigrants, but it all came to an end when she was thirteen and one day, came home from school to an empty apartment. It was revealed to her later from neighbors that her parents and older brother were seized and deported that morning, and because she was the only one born on American soil, she was the only one who could stay.

She moved only two floors up in her apartment building to reside with another Colombian family who her family trusted her with, but despite the minimal move, the transition was hard on her. Her childhood wasn't filled with sunshine and rainbows but she had her family and for a kid, that was the most important thing. Having them literally sent to another country without a chance to say goodbye or explain things was traumatizing at best. When she was able to speak to her parents again, it was only for about five minutes on a phone call two weeks after they disappeared. Despite her begs and pleas, they refused to allow her to leave the US and come to Colombia with them. They insisted that they had worked this hard and she needed to be the one Ramos that did something with herself. She would stay in school, graduate and attend a nice college so she could one day, get a job that paid well enough to finally get them the legal help to become rightful American citizens. She did her best to live up to their expectations for a little while, but she soon got caught up in the wrong crowd. When she was fifteen, she started dating twenty-year-old Miguel Escobar. He and his older brother basically ran the drug scene in the Hispanic neighborhoods in the Bronx and dating him seemed like an honor to her young, naive self. When he was murdered by his own cousin for being caught cheating, it didn't even resonate in her that he wasn't her prince charming. She was devastated which is understandable to some degree, but considering how unfaithful he was to her in the first place, she probably shouldn't have valued him more than her own future. His death left her at a point where she was pretty much over going to school and trying to make something out of herself. She ended up dropping out in the middle of her junior year and started working with her "tia", the woman who was now looking after her, at the cleaning company her mother had once worked for. She spent her days scrubbing the floors of the rich and privileged and her nights acting as a server for their grand house parties.

Miguel's passing and her involvement in legal work didn't mean she was on the right track, though. Her jobs were bringing her money but she resented having to bow down to rich white people who treated her like a second class citizen. She hated it. Prostitution didn't make her feel any more human, but the cash she got made that unimportant and she was finally able to send some of it back to her parents in Colombia. She told them she had gotten a job in an office and that's where the cash was coming from, but the lie was only to protect them. When she was eighteen, she was arrested for the first time for prostitution. She spent a week in jail before the family she was living with were able to bail her out. Her parents found out and were devastated by her actions, but it wasn't enough to stop her from doing it. She was arrested a second time only a few months later and ended up spending her full forty-five day sentence in jail since no one would bail her out. At this point, her second family wouldn't keep her in their home so she ended up with some of Miguel's old friends. She would couch hop but it seemed like every connection she had could only tolerate her for a few weeks before kicking her out. Either she was badmouthing them, causing fights with other roommates, stealing or not paying her share of the rent. When she was twenty-one and on a drug run for one of her dealer friends, she was stopped by a cop and ended up being arrested for possession with the intent to sell. She spent seven months in prison before being sentenced to a halfway house while on probation for another six months, only becoming a "free woman" about a week ago.

Job:
Right now she's unemployed but prostitution and drug-related jobs have gotten her by in the past.


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Height/Weight or build:
5'2 and 110 lbs

Eye color:
Brown

Hair color:
Dark brown

Other:
Ear piercings

Face claim:
Diane Guerrero

So begins...

Elena Ramos's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn Archer Character Portrait: Holly Madden Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Sunday, July 3rd | 10:00 PM


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Savannah Stonecraft* Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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With Brooklyn out all day working at the diner, Nick didn't feel guilty spending his day with Savannah. He knew that he didn't have to feel guilty to begin with, because Brooklyn had not only been the one to break up with him, but she had also made it clear that she was over him when she returned. Still, it had been impossible for him to feel at ease since she returned and he wasn't sure how that feeling would ever go away. It wasn't his fault that she didn't want to be with him, but he also knew Brooklyn, and he knew that even if she didn't want him, she wasn't going to be okay with anyone else wanting him either. Having a crazy ex-girlfriend wouldn't have been a major problem either, had the new girl he was into not been living with them too. He didn't want Savannah to be forced onto the receiving end of Brooklyn's wrath but it seemed like that was too late. Aside from her very cold greeting, Brooklyn had apparently confronted Savannah.

After a morning of making sales, he and Savannah headed to a street fair and then to the library. Nick always enjoyed street fairs. A street would be closed down and along it would be lines of booths (normally selling cheap junk), food stands and at the one today, carnival games. If he wasn't so sure that he could make three baskets in a row, he wouldn't have started the game booth spree that cost him ten dollars. The laughs that he and Savannah got out of it made it seem worthwhile, but the thought of it afterwards made Nick's wallet feel ten times lighter. Maybe Roman was right. He did want to impress Savannah and the same went for when he was with Brooklyn. It wasn't the best reason to get involved again in such a risky business but hanging out with Savannah reminded him that it would be worth it. If he was going to be in a serious relationship with anyone, he wanted to be able to be a man and support them. He didn't want Brooklyn to have to strip for a living and he surely did not want Savannah to be taking pictures through some sketchy modeling agency. It seemed obvious that it wasn't any type of modeling to boast about and Nick insisted to her that her photos would end up on the sidebar of Pornhub, but she didn't seem as completely put off from the idea as he was. He knew that it wasn't his place to judge her, and his feelings weren't so much judgmental as they were concerned, and maybe a little bit territorial too. Just as he didn't like random men fantasizing about Brooklyn, he couldn't bare to imagine the X-rated places Savannah's photos would end up in, and the seedy people who would find them. At the end of the day though, they all needed to do what they did to survive and while Nick didn't like Savannah's new idea to make money, he couldn't forbid her from doing it either.

It was only when they had finished at the street fair and stopped at the library where Nick learned of Brooklyn and Savannah's altercation. Savannah did a good job at explaining it to him in the least biased way as possible, and though he cringed at the words that Savannah had said to Brooklyn, he was convinced that they were as well deserved as Savannah made them seem. Not asking about people's upbringing and past seemed like an unspoken rule of the streets. To end up here, usually went really wrong in your life, and if it hadn't, there was probably a lot of guilt involved for giving up that good life for the drugs, failed relationship or hopeless dreams that landed you on the streets instead. In that respect, combined with Brooklyn's personality, he could understand if she was plotting Savannah's murder as they spoke. However, he was also sure that Brooklyn had been unnecessarily cruel to Savannah before she spoke about her neglectful childhood, so it left him stuck in that position of not knowing who was right.

Nick had no purpose in the library, so while Savannah worked on her writing, Nick rested his head on his arms and managed to get a quick nap in. The air conditioned library and quiet atmosphere made it easy, and sitting across from Savannah at a table nestled in the back of the library, he probably just seemed like a tired college student rather than a homeless drug dealer. When Savannah was finished writing, they headed back home, but Nick didn't stay in the basement for any longer than he needed to. He had made all of his sales that morning but had one more business-related trip to make. Carlos was one of the three guys that he had run into a few days back and Nick decided to pay him a visit tonight. He had insisted that he could get Nick back into the game, and back to making big money, at the drop of a hat, and now Nick was considering doing it. He knew that he had to be all in if he wanted to commit, so he wasn't going to do just that yet because he wasn't all in. However, stopping by his apartment to smoke and talk seemed like a good start, and a way for him to figure out firsthand if he was really ready to get involved again.

The subway ride there felt incredibly long, despite only taking around twenty minutes, but he seemed to walk to Carlos' building faster than he wanted to. Years ago, Nick had been involved in the drug dealing business so heavily that Miguel and Chris' deaths weren't as shocking to him as they should have been. He understood the risks of doing what he did, and at that point in his life, the idea of dying wasn't very scary. Their apartment had an array of illegal weapons and more times than not, Nick had one on his person and had used it multiple times. It was strange to think about now, when he had been disconnected from that side of his life for so long, but it was also hard for him to feel any remorse. If he hadn't pulled the trigger on people, they would have pulled it on him. It wasn't like he had shot at innocent people, just other people involved in the game, but on the wrong side of it. Besides, had he not been so involved, Roman probably would have been six feet under by now too. It was ideas like those that Nick held onto to remind himself that he wasn't a bad person and he had only done what he did for survival. Then again, it reminded him that he didn't need to go back there. He was surviving now without that, and putting his life on the line for a possible payout wasn't worth it. Still, within thinking, he found himself knocking on the door of apartment 6B.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Sophiex
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"¿Qué carajo dijiste, puta? ¿Miguel permitirá hablar con él de esa manera?" Carlos and Elena had been going at it all evening. He insisted that it was her responsibility to clean the overflowing pile of dishes in the sink. He claimed that she was the woman and since she had been staying them for a week "without lifting a finger", it was the least that she could do. Her feisty persona wasn't having it though, and tonight, yet another clash was ensuing between the two over her speaking out of line.

"Miguel habría pagado mi fianza, así cierra la puta boca." None of her old "friends" paying her bail had been a prominent response to many of the men's complaints.

"Te quedaste fuera del planeta. No es mi culpa que no me quedo con pestañas en tu." They claimed that no bondsmen in the city would let them sign for her, considering their own ties to the drug scene and that it wasn't there responsibility anyway. She hadn't been taken down for a crime related to their business and according to many of her lie-laced stories, she had been doing well before she was arrested anyway. It was true, and the fact that she was arrested for a drug crime through a different group of dealers had probably given life to feelings of betrayal by Carols and his crew as well. The fact that she was "Miguel's girl" was enough for them to accept her back in when she was released from the halfway house she served probation in, but there was clearly some tension still present.

"Te llamé cincuenta malditas veces, puta," she argued. During the fourteen months of time she did for the crime, the estimate of calling them fifty times probably wasn't even an exaggeration. She wasn't the type of girl who was built for prison and she wanted any out, or even any connection to the real world. She couldn't call her family who were overseas, her family in the Bronx wanted nothing to do with her, and none of her friends who had gotten her into this mess would answer her calls either.

"Relájese chica! Estás fuera ahora y eso es todo lo que importa, ¿verdad?" Julian interjected for the first time since Elena had entered the living room. With a joint situated between his lips, it was clear that he was trying to relax and didn't want to hear the bickering that had been ongoing since Elena's arrival. He was probably right. There was no use in fighting over whether it was wrong for no one to have bailed her out when they couldn't change the past now, but Elena was Elena, and being that logical just wasn't in her character.

"Tengo mi mota y eso es todo lo que importa," she corrected him, eliciting a chuckle out of the two men as she perfected the joint she had been rolling and held a lighter to its end. She only got one hit out of it before there was a knock on the door. Neither of the men rose from their seats on the tattered couch and after a few seconds passed, Carlos glanced over at her, clearly annoyed.

"Es probable que Pablo. Su cocaína está en la cocina. Déjalo entrar." Carlos only looked at her for a second to inform her that it was probably one of their customers looking to pick up an order and to let him in, before returning his attention to the boxing match that was playing out on the television.

Elena considered ignoring the demand because she was not these boys' housekeeper or bitch, but decided against it. She had made that point clear and the free weed in her hand reminded her that answering a door was worth the free drugs she got by staying here. She rested the joint gently on the ledge of the table before opening the door, only to the extent that the chain lock allowed. She had grown up knowing that this was the only way to open the door until she knew who it was. If it happened to be the law, they needed time to flush everything before the door was kicked down. However, it only took a second for Elena to process the face through the cracked door to fully open it. It was Nick. He was Miguel's best friend and Elena had grown to know him well while he was living with Miguel. To put it simply, she was elated to see the old friend after so long and before she could give him a chance to step through the door, she squealed, "Moreno! ¿Qué coño estás haciendo aquí?" It didn't take long for that old, childish crush of hers to resurface as she flung her arms around him. The years away had certainly done Nick well, she noted as she clutched his muscular figure.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn Archer Character Portrait: Holly Madden Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Monday, July 4th | 11:00 AM


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Nick ended up spending the night at the apartment with the guys and Elena. Being there for the twelve hours that he was there made him feel like he was back in that life. People came and went from the apartment at every hour of the night. Occasionally, one of the guys would run downstairs with a paper bag filled with bags of coke or marijuana and a couple minutes later, return with a wad of cash. Although Nick had come over with the intentions of talking to Carlos and Julian about making some extra money by joining their crew, that topic barely even came up. Instead, he spent most of the night in one of the bedrooms watching Family Guy with Elena. Though the television was playing, most of his attention remained on the girl, who luckily for him, was content with talking about herself enough that he didn't have to say much about his own life.

She explained to him how after Miguel had passed away, she spent a few months in Colombia with her family before flying out to California where she worked as an extra in a some movies. She claimed to have been involved in a romantic relationship with some big name director but after the affair was discovered by his wife, he paid Elena to never speak of it again. With that money, she flew back to New York and had been preparing to go to college when she was arrested for having some weed on her. She claimed that she had been framed and that the charges were exaggerated because she wasn't white, and it landed her in prison. Maybe it was because he was incredibly high on the strong weed the guys had there, or because he really had felt like Miguel was a brother, but he felt bad for Elena. She had always been such a strong and funny girl and again, maybe it was because of the drugs, but Nick didn't doubt a word she said, even though 99% of her claims were blatant lies.

Carlos and Julian passed out around four AM after doing enough lines of cocaine that made Nick worry that they were actually dead and not just asleep. Nick and Elena were asleep soon after, with her on one of the four blowup mattresses that filled the room and him on the floor. The other mattresses were all empty but had people possessions on them and Nick knew better than to mess with other people's space. The people in the basement were all pretty good about not being very territorial, but Nick knew that wasn't how most people were and he wasn't interested in being attacked while he slept. It was always easier for Nick to sleep when he was high but being in a new space left him unable to fall into a deep sleep and by ten o'clock, he was awake again. He was surprised to find Carlos back on the living room couch when he decided to head back to the basement. One hand held a joint and the other held the television remote as he skimmed through channels, only noticing Nick when he had stepped towards the door.

"Quizás quiso joder Elena anoche?" he asked, a smirk on his face as he breathed out a cloud of smoke. "Esa perra tiene demasiado grande de una boca para mí."

"Did I fuck her? Huh? No..." Nick was confused by the accusation at first, but that's probably what it did look like. Elena was undoubtedly a pretty girl but Nick had too many problems in that department to even considering one more girl to the mix. Besides, even with Miguel dead, Nick knew better than to sleep with his girl. "I'm gonna head out, though. My girl's at home and you know how they get when you're out all night," Nick said, an uncomfortable chuckle following the comment. The night here had brought back a surge of memories, but they were all memories that Nick felt unconnected with, and that he wanted to leave in the past.

"¡Llevarla contigo!" Carlos smirked. "Sólo tenemos espacio para putas que cocinan aquí." Even though Elena had been the only positive reminder of his old life, Nick hadn't considered taking her with him. Not only did she not ask, but he also didn't know what coming home with another female would do to Savannah and Brooklyn. He was already clearly in hot water for having feelings for two girls, and even though his feelings for Elena were strictly platonic, it probably wouldn't look that way to anyone besides Roman, who knew that Elena was like a little sister to him. Still, remembering Roman and Elena's relationship from years ago, he probably wouldn't be too pleased with her showing up either. Nick would have given Carlos some lame excuse about not having space or already being a guest in someone else's apartment, but Elena walked out and asked what was going on, and he just didn't have it in him to not try to extend an invite. Especially after recalling how she professed that she hated Carlos and the guys last night, it seemed necessary.


"Uh, we were just talking about how maybe you'd want to come chill with me and some friends until you figure out where you're gonna stay." He scratched the back of his head in an anxious manner, knowing that he was damned if he did invite her and damned if he didn't. It would have been perfect if he had gotten credit for inviting her and she said no, but of course, that would have been too good to happen to him.

"Hmm... I'm sure that anything would be better than living in this agujero de mierda," she responded, shooting a glare at Carlos at the last part.

Carlos flipped her off, shooing the two of them out as he become engrossed in a television program again and in a matter of two minutes, Nick had managed to screw himself over again. Elena only had a backpack full of possessions and after grabbing that, the two of them left. Nick was far too anxious to return to the basement with a girl that Roman already hated, and who he was sure at least Brooklyn or Savannah would have a problem with, so he offered to treat for breakfast at a diner near the bar. They could only waste so much time eating though, and by eleven-fifteen she was insisting that Nick give her a tour of his apartment.

"It's not really an apartment. I mean, it's good enough, and the dude who owns the place is really chill and lets us live there for free. But it's not really an apartment, or at least the type of apartments that I'm sure you got used to when you were in California," he began, walking as slowly as possible on the trek back to the bar.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Holly Madden Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Jackson King
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#, as written by Sophiex
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Nick's reference to her life in California made Elena smile. If he noticed, which he probably didn't considering chaotic the city was, he probably would attribute it to her recalling good memories of that part of her life. Really, though, she was just glad that he bought the story of her living that pretend luxury life and that he cared enough to remember it. They had both been far too stoned last night to remember or process much, so him saying that meant that maybe he cared as much as she used to. "As long as you're there, I'm sure I'll be fine," she said, slipping her hand into his and swinging it playfully. Was it weird? Too much of a "move"? She didn't know but Elena was brazen enough to do it and only offer a minute giggle as an explanation. "Besides, I heard that you found yourself a white girl after... it... happened. Shouldn't you be living large by now? A cute little house in the suburbs with a brick chimney and a perfectly mowed lawn in front? Did it not work out?" She brushed a loose strand of hair back towards her pony tail as she gave him an innocent look. Nick knew that Elena was prejudiced towards white people, so the inquiry probably didn't come as much of a surprise to him. She was the type of girl who would openly admit that she didn't like the race solely for their skin color, but in her mind, it made sense. For her entire life, she had always been taught that she was less of a woman, less of a person, compared to a light skinned person. The people who were so against illegal immigrants, so again her family, were predominantly white people. When her parents were deported, it only further resonated in her that she was not seen as equally human as them, just because of the color of her skin. It was why she had such problems with Roman when he was living with them years back, and if Nick hadn't been from Spain and spoken Spanish, but instead been from any other European country, she would have had a problem with him too. It wasn't fair that Roman could get away with living in America illegally for so long, while her family who worked hard and contributed to society, had been torn apart and destroyed for the exact same reason. The only difference that Elena would acknowledge was that they were Latinos and he was European.

Nick questioned Elena holding his hand for a second before deciding that he was being too paranoid. Elena had been his friend for years, and her holding his hand was nothing more than a friendly gesture. She was probably happy to see him again, and he was happy to see her too. He did his best to shift his mindset from being so worried about what everyone would think of him bringing her back, to just being happy that his old friend was alive and well. It wasn't uncommon to die young in the life that they had both been involved in. "That would be Brooklyn," Nick saying, offering a sheepish smile to Elena's comment about the "white girl" he had apparently been rumored of dating after Miguel was killed and he detached himself from the group. The perfect life that Elena claimed was supposed to come with dating said white girl made him chuckle because perfection was the last word that he would use to describe his relationship with Brooklyn. Even knowing Elena's tendencies to mockingly put Caucasian people on a pedestal, he had to laugh at that too. When he had lived with Elena, he did speak Spanish much more and attempted to blend into the cultural identities that the others had. His grandparents were from Spain and spoke Spanish fluently at home, so he wasn't really appropriating the culture, but at least now, it was hard for him to identify with that side. "But no, I'm not living that white picket fence life. She and I were cool for a while, but yeah, I guess it just didn't work out. Lucky for you, you'll get to meet her in a minute," Nick said. He smiled playfully but the confidence he had tried to instill in himself over the walk was dropping quickly.

The front door to Finn's bar was open, which normally would have been unusual at this hour, but since it was a holiday, it made sense. Days like this, when the city was populated even more than usual with tourists came in handy for Finn's business. If Nick was alone, he would have went in and sat down for a few beers, indulging in the air conditioning and some food, but he didn't want to introduce Elena to Finn just yet. Between Savannah and Brooklyn alone, he had already heard enough relationship advice from Finn to last a lifetime. Bringing a new girl into the mix would be a guaranteed headache. Instead, he led Elena through the alley and pulled open the doors to reveal the stairway down to the basement. "Alright, so it's definitely not the most glamorous place, but at least you don't have to deal with Carlos here," he said, attempting to bring the vibes back up as he took her bag and gestured for her to go down first.

Knowing that Nick was living with his ex was a little bit disheartening, but Elena only raised an eyebrow at the revelation. She wasn't necessarily surprised that he would date someone like that. He did keep Roman around for all those years, and that had to say something about who he was attracted to. She allowed him to take her backpack and carefully made her way down the steep set of stairs. He was right. The basement certainly didn't come close to being glamorous, but in reality, there wasn't a single house that Elena had lived in that was glamorous. This certainly beat the state prison; that was for sure. She could feel Nick only a couple of steps behind her but she got a quick glimpse of the basement before he emerged at her side. There was a girl with skin colored only a couple of shades darker than her own, who was crouched down beside a person mangled in a sheet. Elena didn't have time to study he or she before looking across the room to a girl with red hair that was clearly unnatural, who sat on a mattress with a lollipop in her mouth. And then, in the far corner of the room was a white boy that even after years of being away from, and apparently many tattoos (and maybe some steroids too?) later, she quickly identified as Roman. "Dammmnn Moreno! All this time and you still kept white boy around? ¿Da buena mamadas o algo así?" she said loudly, elbowing him in the side.

Only a second in and Elena's old personality was coming to light, and with that last comment, Nick was praying that Roman hadn't brushed up on any Spanish slang lately. He decided not to address her, even as her elbows nudged his ribs, but faced the open room instead. "Hey, guys. So, this is my old friend Elena, and she's going to be staying with us for a little while." It was only awkward for him to say because he knew of Roman's past with her. On the bright side, he didn't see Brooklyn or Savannah in the basement, and the benefits of that outweighed the pissy mood Roman was sure to be in.

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Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn Archer Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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After Killens had finally given Brooke her money--or rather, slapped it in her face--and taken out the $200 he would need for the next entry fee, he was only left with $180. He could have had more had his manager not been in his characteristic bad mood, along with being dissatisfied with his performance. It was an annoyance, but Brooke's comments were enough to distract him from it. He was in too much shock from Brooke's knowledge about him and Cara to be able to responsd before she left. He watched her go up the stairs, his mouth hanging agape, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to be mad at Cara or Brooke more. He rolled his eyes, no longer planning on meeting her upstairs. He had just decided on getting dressed and going out alone before he heard someone come in from the back. Before he had a chance to even wonder who it was, a loud voice announced her presence and it only took the term 'white boy' for the realization of who it was to set in.

Roman figured his luck couldn't be that bad--all this within 24 hours?--but when he looked over his shoulders he recognized Elena almost immediately. Before he could think to control it, his face twisted in confusion since she was the last person he thought he'd see here, or anywhere for that matter. He hadn't seen Elena in quite some time. They had first met when he was still a kid, scrawny and scared and right under Nick's wing. Regardless of how long it had been, it was still too soon in his opinion. Did Nick plan on making a habit out of this?

With it being too much to process how Brooklyn knew what she did on top of figuring out why Elena was here, he decided it would be best to leave. He masked his utter confusion and surprise with silence, but his mind was swarming with thoughts. He went back to his part of the basement and threw on the first things he saw before going up to the bar. Since it was occupied, he normally would have avoided it, but going the other way meant passing Nick and Elena, which wasn't an option for him.

The bar typically wasn't opened at this time, but since it was a holiday for America, and people didn't need much reason to get drunk at a socially unacceptable time, it was populated with a few people. He wasn't sure why he ended up doing it since he was still annoyed with her, but he took a far corner of the bar and waited for Brooke. As he waited, he pondered over everything that had happened in the past ten minutes. Did Cara seriously go blabbing to Brooke about what had had happened? Figures the first thing she would do is gossip, he thought. But what seemed to be a bigger, more immediate problem was Elena. He could admit that his disdain for Savannah was slightly juvenile, but there was no way in hell he could end up warming up to Elena. They had lived together once, and it didn't work out. He recalled how much of an instigator she was, and how he was the subject for much of her force since she pretty much hated him for being white. At the time he was living with Miguel and his friends, and it was the first time he was the minority. It was safe to say he was scared shitless enough to not really say anything to anyone. Then Elena had the advantage of being Miguel's girlfriend, and Roman was sure at the time that if he'd opened his mouth, Miguel would kill him.

An unsettling feeling of deja vu fell over him when he became anxious just from those memories. He wasn't scared of Elena, especially since he was bigger than her now and she didn't have the benefit of having some drug lord as a boyfriend. But he only associated her with that time in his life where he walked on his toes and held his breath; he wasn't ready to revisit any resemblance of that. Before he could dwell on it any long, which was maybe for the best, Brooklyn came from downstairs.

"Wait here, I need to go get my bag. I'm ordering a drink with lunch and I guess I won't force you to pay for that."

"Probably a bad idea," he said. "Nick just brought some new girl, and she's not exactly a delight. But then again maybe you need a taste of your own medicine, so be my guest."

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Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Holly Madden Character Portrait: Jackson King Character Portrait:
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"Like hell I am," Jackson muttered, only refraining from twisting away because of Makayla's cold touch. It was the only relief he had felt all night from the heavy heat of the basement. He was just coming out of a deep sleep and everything around him seemed to be a blur. Even after being on the streets for a few years, it always took him a few minutes after waking up to remember where he was and what his life was like. A lot of it had to do with the amount of alcohol and marijuana he usually consumed before sleeping. They frequently caused vivid dreams of him being back with his family in his old life. While there definitely were some nightmares in there, ones involving his family's reaction to his brother John's death and other fantastical ones related to his childhood, most of them were positive. Maybe they reflected his subconscious wish to go back home and for all of his real life to be a dream. Either way, it was always hard to wake up from that, and come back into reality. Especially his reality now.

He had days to come up with more money than he normally made in a month, or he was fucked. There was no other way to describe it. He would either be stuck caring for a baby that he was sure he wanted no involvement with, or he would have to disappear one day and never come back. Even if he took the easy way out by choosing the second option, where would he go? Homeless shelters were basically all full in the city, and for the few weeks that he spent in one when he first arrived, he had vowed to never return. So, would he live on the streets? Jackson was tough, but even he knew he wouldn't last more than a few weeks like that. He could get a real job, something as entry level as a fast food or retail position. He had a high school degree and could handle the work, but even then, it would take him at least a month or two to earn enough money just to cover the deposit fee of an apartment. Then there was always the possibility of going back home. Even though the falling out between he and his parents had been pretty bad, and he was convinced that his father thought of him as an embarrassment and disgrace to the family, he knew that he would be allowed back. If he stopped drinking and smoking, promised to go to school and thoroughly explain and apologize for why he couldn't continue the family's legacy in the military, he would be permitted to stay at the family's home. His mother was too kind and sympathetic to turn away her youngest son, especially with one of the five already dead. Thinking about his mother made Jackson feel guilty for all of the pain and stress that he was sure to have caused her, but he also had to remind himself that it was she and his father who had pushed him to the point where he had to leave. He was obnoxious and rebellious, but it wasn't like they tried to make any compromises with him either.

"Yeah, like hell you are, Mr. I-hate-wearing-condoms. My entire body hurts because of you and it's going to for the next eighteen years unless you come up with that money. So get up and get your ass dressed. You have three minutes." With that, and the gentle slap to his face that she left him with, he could only groan obnoxiously and sit up. It took a few seconds to rub the sleep out of his eyes, and then another minute to trudge to the bathroom and change into a black t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. He had showered the afternoon before but with this weather, knew that he was going to have to shower again before the end of the day. It was never extremely hard to sneak into gyms in the city, so he knew he would need to add that into his day's plans at some point.

He reemerged from the bathroom just in time to hear Nick introduce the new girl that stood beside him as an old friend, Elena. Jackson took in her appearance quickly and was definitely satisfied. He headed over towards Makayla and Holly, and once she had finished speaking, he gave a small wave. If he wasn't already in hot water with Makayla, he probably would have introduced himself and been more than friendly, but he wasn't going to be that brazen just yet. "Alright, where are you dragging me to today?" he asked, a tired smirk on his face. He looked only at Makayla, because he really wasn't the biggest fan of Holly. He sometimes got a kick out of scaring her or feeding her lies or gossip that would just bother Makayla or Brooklyn or one of the others with her infinite amount of questions. Aside from that, though, it was hard to tolerate her, nonetheless actually hang out with her.

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Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Holly Madden Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Jackson King
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Makayla could tell that Jackson wasn't excited to spend a day with her and Holly, and she attributed that mostly to Holly being there, but she didn't care. Holly was a lot of work, but she was less work than an infant or a toddler would be and if anything could motivate him to not have to deal with a child of his own, it was to force him to spend a day with the closest thing to a child she had. She didn't feel bad for Jackson in the slightest. If anything, she felt bad for forcing Holly to spend a day with him. Makayla was always very vocal about how Jackson was mean and wasn't their friend. It was done in part to keep Holly in the dark about their relationship, because something like that would be too complicated to explain to Holly who would have a million questions about it, and would, within minutes, tell everyone else about it too. It was also done because Jackson was mean to her sometimes. Makayla understood that he was usually being sarcastic and that his tolerance for Holly was far shorter than her own, but explaining that to Holly wasn't a good option either. So, she had always just agreed with her that he was mean and not a fun person to be around. It wasn't like Jackson wasn't an asshole anyway, so she wasn't lying to her.

"Why were you talking to him?" was the first thing that Holly said since being given the lollipop minutes earlier. It was nothing nothing but a stick with a few pink, sticky remnants on it, and as soon as Makayla was in reach, Holly handed the garbage off to her.
"Can we go to the pool now? Do you think they made the water red for July 4th?"

Makayla took the lollipop stick but was close to rolling her eyes. Holly could get away with a lot of things because Makayla knew that she truly was incapable of realizing she was being annoying or childish. She understood why she had to read menus to Holly and why sending her to the corner store was a bad idea, because she would buy something worth a dollar and not understand that she had to stay there long enough to get the change. Things like picking up her clothes or throwing away her own garbage were things that Makayla knew she had to work on. It was hard to keep making excuses to herself as to why Holly couldn't do things that were so simple. Even though she was always exhausted, she knew that she had to put more effort into normalizing Holly, and while she had always been completely against the idea of asking Nick for the prescription medication he sold like Adderall or Ritalin, now she was considering it. It was hard to keep Holly on a leash on any normal day, but now when she was more stressed out than ever and was feeling more physically strained and ill than ever, it didn't seem like such a bad idea. Moral-wise, she was already game to try it, but money-wise, not so much. "We're not going to the pool, Holl. Jackson's going to hang out with us today, and he promised to be nice."


"I don't want to hang out with him. He's so ugly, Kay. I think me and you should just go to the pool and then we can see the fireworks later, right? They do fireworks on July 4th."

"He's not ugly. It'll be fun, I promise. We can watch the fireworks later and maybe we'll see if Jackson has enough money to buy us Italian ices at the pizzeria, okay?" Calling Jackson ugly had softened Makayla a little bit, but she wasn't going to let him off the hook just because Holly didn't want him there any more than he wanted to be there.


"Will we go to the pizza place that Savannah took me to? She got a whole pizza pie for just me and her and there was so much cheese on it."

"If you pay attention today to what I say, then maybe." Makayla would have warned Holly in a stricter way, but she didn't necessarily want Holly to be on her best behavior if she was trying to prove a point to Jackson. A headache would be worth watching him squirm and come up with the money. That was all she really cared about at this point.

Their conversation broke as the opening of the back door sounded and down came Nick and a girl that Makayla didn't recognize. She seemed comfortable with Nick, which was different from how most of the new people came in acting. Makayla remembered how she was absolutely terrified when she first came down to the basement. It was the only place that accepted her and Holly without even mentioning CPS or separating her and Holly, and she was so scared that Holly would do something to get them kicked out. Makayla was proficient enough in Spanish from growing up in a house that was always filled with a diverse crowd, and going to a school completely made up of minorities, to understand the trash that she was talking. Nick introduced her as Elena, and from the look of Roman's reaction to her appearance, Makayla assumed that he was the "white boy" she was referring to. Further processing her words, it seemed like she had known Nick and Roman for long enough where "for all this time" was an appropriate phrase. Makayla wasn't sure how to interpret her bold or crudeness, so she simply responded to the unexpected greeting with a smile and a, "Hey!". She was too used to Holly's normal behavior to forget to clamp her hand around her sister's thin forearm before she could get more than a step towards Elena.


"I just want to say hi!" Holly argued, looking back at Makayla with confusion. A new person was always exciting for Holly, and especially compared to the idea of hanging out with Jackson. She had so many questions to ask the girl and didn't understand why Makayla was being so restraining - and physical. Jackson must have come over in between that time, because he asked where they were "dragging" him to, before Makayla could justify her tight grip to Holly. "We're not dragging you anywhere because you're uninvited," she asserted.

"He's not uninvited. Jackson's the whole reason why we're going out today. He wants to get to know you better, Holl. Jackson wants to hang out with you, learn what it's like to take care of you." Makayla's brown eyes were focused on Jackson as she spoke, and she had to suppress a giggle at the end of the statement. She was going to put him through hell today, because he had put her through hell for two months already. "We're going to go to the park first." She had loosened her grip on Holly only for enough time to get her bag, shove the last lollipop into Holly's hand, and nudge Holly towards the staircase leading to the bar. When she saw that Holly was following direction and not attempting to reach Elena again, she looked towards Jackson and grabbed his hand. "Lead the way, daddy." She didn't even care that she was being a bit too flirtatous for friendship in front of Nick and Elena. She hoped that they were too occupied with each other to notice.

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Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn Archer Character Portrait: Holly Madden Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Savannah had decided the night before she'd use today to do a little job hunting. She wanted that modeling place to be the last thing she needed.
Turns out, that seemed about as useful as her submitting her writings to the publishing houses. She went to the library again and check her messages, still nothing from anyone. It was discouraging, it really was. She used to win contest after contest, she was a child prodigy, but since moving here, she's done nothing financially useful with herself.

She decided, she'd go home and talk to Nick, maybe he could cheer her up, he always seemed to be able to.

She made her way home and down to the basement after a quick wave to Finn who was busy with customers, he gave her a nod as she went by. It was around this time that she saw Brooklyn and Roman, and she said not a word to either of them. It was good thing they were leaving, she didn't think she had the patience for any of their disdain today, it wasn't even noon and Savannah wanted to curl up in bed. She could hear Nick downstairs and quickened her pace.

She spotted Nick immediately and smiled, but it faded when she saw a beautiful Latina woman beside him. She missed a bit of the introduction but she saw Holly dart forward, but Makayla expertly draw her back. Savannah stepped around them as they came up the stairs and rounded to Nick and the latina girl.

"Nick, Good Morning." She greeted him first and then the girl. "I think I may have missed a bit, but hello, I'm Savannah." She said, offering her hand and smiling brightly. Nick was good for bringing in other people, so Savannah really wasn't surprised, but there was something about how comfortable to two seemed together that made her a little uneasy, it wasn't like it was with Brooklyn, but she was weary all the same.

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Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Holly Madden Character Portrait: Savannah Stonecraft Character Portrait: Jackson King
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Elena had more time to observe the other people who were in the basement after Nick introduced her. The lump of blankets ended up being a boy who gave her a bare wave, and situated himself with the other two girls in the basement. Of the two girls, the one with the darker skin greeted her in a similar way to the boy, and the redheaded one appeared to be eager to come over but was interrupted by the other girl. Elena wasn't very worried about them but put on a friendly smile, which only grew when she watched Roman head towards the stairs moments after her arrival. He certainly wasn't the same lanky kid that he was seven years ago, but his quick departure was reassuring that she still held a little bit of power over him, even if it wasn't actually true. "No me digas que la pelirroja es tu ex novia," Elena said, playfully nudging his shoulder, once the three others started towards the stairs. The redhead was the only white girl in the basement and since Nick had said she was going to get his white ex when they got down there, it logically made sense. However, the girl didn't appear to be older than fifteen or sixteen, and that alone had Elena wanting to change his nickname from Moreno to pedófilo.

"Holly? Hell no! You'll get to know Holly pretty quickly, I bet. She's... uh, friendly. Friendly like a kid, I guess you could say." Nick was quick to defend himself against that allegation. He wouldn't badmouth Holly to Elena, because overall, he liked Holly and he knew that her tendency to be a pest wasn't even slightly intentional. Holly had better intentions than anyone he had ever known and even in an attempt to defend his decency, he wasn't going to go on and on about how Holly had the mentality and attention span of a five year old. "The girl that she was with was Makayla, and they're sisters. Not biologically, obviously, but step-sisters or something, and that guy was Jackson. He's a pretty good guy, he'd definitely be down to smoke if you ever need a stoner friend and I'm not around," he smirked, "But according to some of the others, he can be a little bit of an ass around the girls. I know that you know how to deal with that though." Nick now realized that there probably was little point in bringing Elena back now. She only had one bag of possessions so there wasn't much to move in, but she didn't have a mattress, pillow, blankets, or anything to really help her live. They were going to have to deal with that before night set in, especially with it being a holiday. Nick had enough money on him to buy her a mattress and some blankets, but his wallet wasn't fat enough where he wouldn't be taking a big hit by being generous. He knew that with tonight being a big partying night, if he went out on a few more sales, he could probably make the money back by the end of the night.

"Well, where the fuck is your girl then, Moreno? Or was she made up to make you seem cool?" Elena joked. She took in what he said about the people who had went upstairs, but she was more focused on this mystery girlfriend. There was little time to get an answer from Nick because his playful expression shifted from looking at her, to the stairs. Elena glanced that way too, and found that a dark skinned female was nearly running towards them. She thrust a hand out to Elena and introduced herself as Savannah after saying good morning to Nick. Handshakes weren't something that Elena usually attributed to meeting new people who were of her age, and in a casual setting. For a moment, she considered making a remark about how unusual it seemed, but Elena wasn't really looking to make a bad impression right now. Instead, she carefully extended a hand and loosely returned the handshake. "Hi," she offered with a smile that wasn't completely superficial. Though the accent that came out of Savannah's mouth was unexpected, it would make a good joke when she and Nick were alone and she could question if that was Roman's sister and he was just albino.

Nick should have at least been happy that it was Savannah and not Brooklyn that had showed up downstairs, but he still would have preferred neither of them. With everyone evacuating as soon as he and Elena came down, Nick had hoped that it would stay that way for a little while so he could give Elena the run down on how everything worked, and ask her to tone down the attitude with Roman. Nick knew that Roman could hold his own now, but the last thing they needed was any more drama in that basement and Nick didn't want to have to deal with Roman being angry at him for things he couldn't control. In a way, he felt the same responsibility to look out for Elena as he did, and probably still did, for Roman. If nothing else, he owed it to Miguel to take care of Elena until she could take care of herself. "Hey Savannah," he said, rubbing the back of his neck in attempt to massage away the stress he could feel coming on. "This is Elena. She's an old friend and she'll be staying us for a little while. We just came down so I could grab a few things, but we're going out to pick up some things for her while she's staying here." It wasn't a lie, because at the idea of buying Elena things, Nick had decided that making more sales were necessary. He was going to need to keep his backpack filled if he wanted to make some good sized sales during their excursion. Nick so badly wanted to leave the conversation there, fill his bag and go, but he felt compelled to offer her an invite. She was being nice to Elena, and was always a good friend to him. Even though the two of them had spent most of the day together, he decided that he needed to invite her today to. She obviously wasn't going to hang out with Roman or Brooklyn, Holly, Makayla and Jackson had already left, and Nick hadn't seen Robbie or Cara all morning. A lot of the people in the basement could spend days by themselves, and for someone living on the streets, being okay with being alone was a good thing. It was necessary, in a sense. Nick knew that Savannah was okay when she was alone for a few hours, because she regularly writing or occupying herself otherwise, but he knew that she preferred company more than most of the others (aside from Holly). His guilt made him put aside the desire to talk to and spend some time alone with Elena. "If you need to pick anything up, you're welcome to come. We're probably going to check out the Kmart around the block to see if they sell air mattresses first."

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Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Savannah Stonecraft Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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"Hi" The woman said after taking Savannah's hand and shaking it loosely. It was as if she wasn't used to handshakes. Savannah wasn't surprised, that seemed to be the thing in with young America, you'd get all sorts of greetings but a simple classic handshake seemed to be at the end of the list. Savannah didn't let it bother her.

"Hey Savannah," Nick said, rubbing the back of his neck the way that he does when he's stressed. Savannah wanted to kick herself. He still wasn't really ready to talk to her about the whole Brooklyn thing, nor what they were.
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But he said he wanted us to be something..." She reminded herself and smiled some with a nod in reply. "This is Elena. She's an old friend and she'll be staying us for a little while. We just came down so I could grab a few things, but we're going out to pick up some things for her while she's staying here."

He said, and Savannah smiled genuinely at Elena. "Well, It's a pleasure to meet you, Elena. It'll be lovely to have you, I'm sure." She said brightly, though in the back of her mind, she remembered the last time she said that to someone Nick introduced her to, it didn't end well, not only that, in all the times they spoke, she hadn't recalled him mentioning any 'Elena' before and her memory was pretty spot on.

"If you need to pick anything up, you're welcome to come. We're probably going to check out the Kmart around the block to see if they sell air mattresses first." Nick said, calling her attention back to him. Savannah's first thought was to shout yes, but she thought better of it.

"Well, Thank you for asking, but I wouldn't want to impose, You said you two were old friends, I'm sure you have catching up to do, I mean, unless Elena doesn't mind..." She said, speaking with a speed that would rival Holly's. She turned to Elena. " Of course, if you would like to be a-alone, then I'd understand." She said, sputtering a bit. She was a better speaker then this but her mind was going faster then her mouth could keep up. She didn't want to imply anything was going on between them, and she didn't want to push the whole her being his girlfriend thing since she really didn't know that if that was the case. Not to mention, he didn't introduce Savannah as anything, girlfriend or otherwise.

"He said he wanted us to be something....which meant we aren't anything yet...." She thought darkly.
"I'm going to stop talking now." She said with a nervous chuckle. Somehow dealing with Brooklyn was less stressful then this. She could only imagine what was going through Nick's mind right now.

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Character Portrait: Elena Ramos Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Savannah Stonecraft* Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Elena wasn't very interested in the girl standing before her. While she was speaking about wanting to come, but not wanting to come if she wasn't wanted, Elena's eyes drifted past her. Nick's basement really wasn't very great. It was definitely better than where she had spent most of her life though, and a major plus was that she hadn't spotted a single roach in the few minutes she had been down there. Plus, on the way in, she had noticed that it was literally situated below a bar and from what she had took in of Nick's earlier words, he was friends with the owner. That made sense, though, considering that this had to be his basement. The only part of that that mattered to Elena was that there was a possibility for free alcohol. It would be free in an easy way if the owner was a nice guy and offered it, or free in the more difficult but surely plausible way, if he wasn't generous and she just had to steal it. Even now, as her eyes scanned the room, she noticed the areas that were more packed than others and decided that if she ever had the time, she'd have to sift through them. If she couldn't use the treasures inside, there was surely a pawn shop nearby that would offer her some money for them, and if worse came to worst, she could trade them for drugs. Either way, she would end up happy and with more than she had now. She tugged her backpack away from Nick at the thought of her own self stealing from others. The girl in front of her didn't seem like a thief (only because of that accent), but Elena didn't trust anyone, and especially not people she didn't even know. She was new to this part of the streets, but she wasn't new to this lifestyle and Elena knew that if anyone were to survive out here, they were going to do so by putting their own interests first, and a lot of times, only their own interests at all.

"I don't care," Elena replied honestly with a shrug when Savannah looked at her. She really didn't care. She didn't know anything about this girl, and especially not that she had feelings for Nick. Would she have preferred to just spend an afternoon with Nick, now that they were finally back together after seven years? Yeah. It would be nice to have the time to finally talk to someone about Miguel, and to also boost her own mood by spinning more lies about the "amazing" life she had after Miguel's death. Still, she didn't really mind if this girl tagged along, but a second later, she grinned over at Nick. "¿Se le traiga con tu para que puedas vender en los guetos? Los negros sólo compran drogas de los negros. Bien pensado, Moreno." Elena grew up in the Bronx, a borough that had high populations of both Hispanics and blacks, and drugs. It was generally referred to as the most dangerous, and arguably crime-ridden area of New York, and although Elena had too much pride to attribute drugs to her own race, she was okay with blanketing the entire black race as being drug users or sellers. She would argue that all of the ones she knew were.

Nick wasn't really surprised that Savannah wanted to come along, but was polite enough to see if Elena was okay with it before accepting the invitation. What did surprise him, was that Elena didn't step on any toes with her response. Well, he believed that for a second, before she turned to him with a grin that he only needed to take in for a millisecond before knowing that something bad was going to come out of her mouth. She didn't disappoint him, going on about how it was a good idea for him to bring Savannah along on drug deals since she was black and could probably attract more black customers. Nick had wanted to make some sales during their outing. He knew that Elena was more than comfortable around drugs and drugs sales, so he doubted that there would be any problem bringing her along, but Savannah was a different story. She didn't seem like the type of person who would ever get used to that, and she didn't even seem comfortable around him when he was smoking a joint. He highly doubted that she would be okay with walking into an apartment filled with junkies and making enough conversation to keep a friendly relationship going to keep the person as a client. His hand found its way back to his neck as he tried to knead away the stress. "No, Savannah's not into that type of stuff," he said towards Elena, attempting to keep a smile on his face, though his energy was depleting by the minute. He glanced towards his section where he knew he had a high stash of drugs that he could attempt to sell, and then back to the two girls beside him before forcing his smile to grow wider. "Okay, let's get going then. What did you need at Kmart, Savannah?" he asked as he headed up the stairs. He supposed that keeping the conversation away from Elena's control might be safer. She clearly still lacked the filter that she didn't have years ago and he didn't need Savannah to be forced into any more drama that she didn't want or need to be dealing with. Her and Brooklyn being enemies was bad enough because Brooklyn was feisty, but Nick didn't know how close Elena was to her old self. If her mouth said anything, it was that Savannah would probably do better in a fight with Brooklyn than she would with Elena.

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"I don't care," Elena replied with a shrug, much to Savannah's surprise, she hadn't expected that. Honestly, in the back of her mind, she was almost hoping she would say no, so she would have some way to explain her currently turning stomach. She needed to let it go, but Brooklyn had made such a dark impression on her, and Nick never once mentioned Elena in their many conversations, that Savannah was way more insecure and subsequently territorial over Nick then she anticipated. "¿Se le traiga con tu para que puedas vender en los guetos? Los negros sólo compran drogas de los negros. Bien pensado, Moreno."

Savannah didn't speak Spanish, she actually spoke French fluently, but Spanish not so much, but she recongized a few words, but Negro stuck out. Most Americans were under the impression that racism doesn't really exist over in UK, It does, not nearly as bad as here, but it still exists, depending on where you lived, she was raised in London where there it was more like a playful teasing then seething rage but had family in the more rural areas were it was much more of the latter. Nevertheless, she wasn't too keen on the idea of her race being brought up as if somehow that mattered.

Nick seemed to shrug it off, so Savannah figured/hoped that whatever she was, wasn't horrible offensive.

"No, Savannah's not into that type of stuff," he told Elena and Savannah allowed herself to breath, though she was wound so tight, she felt she might just snap. "Okay, let's get going then. What did you need at Kmart, Savannah?"

Dammit all...

She didn't need a single thing, her accepting his offer was a knee-jerk reaction, she just wanted to be with him, and if she were honest with herself, she didn't want him to be alone with her.

She needed to talk to him about all this, she had so much pent up emotions and questions rattling around in her head, it was driving her mad, she managed to shove it all down in a box with Brooklyn, but now with Elena added in, the box was getting full and near ready to burst.

"Oh well, I need a few notebooks, things like that, and I wanted to get something for Holly, she mentioned how I hadn't been there for her birthday and I thought I'd get her a gift to make her feel better about it." She said, she wasn't lying per say but she did pull all of that right out of the sky just then. She just hoped it wasn't obvious.

"I'm ready to go when you are."

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Nick nodded as Savannah explained what she needed from the store. "Don't waste your money on Holly. I mean, I'm sure she'll appreciate it, but she'd be just as happy if you drew her a stupid picture or something... or write a story about her and read it to her. If anything, get her a pink toothbrush or something she actually needs." Nick knew that Holly would probably appoint Savannah as her favorite person of the day if she came home with candy or a silly toy for her, but Holly was the only person who could turn the most average thing into something fascinating. At least if she got something useful, Makayla would benefit from it too. Regardless of what she got, Nick had to appreciate the effort that Savannah was putting into getting along with people. There were moments like right now, when he sort of wished that she wasn't so friendly because he did want to have a bit of time to adjust to Elena himself, but he had to remind himself that her being too friendly was better than being cold. That role was already filled by Brooklyn, and at least in regards to Savannah, Roman too. Nick did think that they were being unfair to Savannah. He expected it from Brooklyn, but Roman just seemed to be acting petty. He hadn't even given her a chance before acting like an ass to her, and it was definitely different than the normal, isolated side of him that was just in his personality. He didn't like Savannah and if he had ever tried to hide that, he didn't do a good job. At the same time, Nick wasn't stupid enough to expect that everyone could get along perfectly and he understood that Brooklyn wasn't going to like Savannah. Sure, he wished that things could be easy, but nothing in his life had been, so this wasn't something new. Adding Elena into the mix was definitely going to test his relaxed personality, though.

The trio had barely made it to the end of the block when Nick's anxious heightened again. Elena stood on one side of him and Savannah on the other. The bare minute that they had been walking the street had been peaceful, but how long could it last? Nick didn't know and though he was itching for a joint, he wasn't willing to get arrested and decided cigarettes would have to suffice for now. He patted at his pockets in search of a box, but it was to no avail. Although the idea of shopping for Elena was already stressing him out financially, it wasn't going to be enough to stop him from buying a pack of cigarettes. "I'm just going to run into here for a minute," Nick said, motioning to the corner store they were approaching. "You guys keep going. I'll meet up with you in a second," he said, not waiting for their responses before pushing the glass door open. A small bell jingled overhead as he stepped in. It was the closest convenience store to the basement, so he was familiar with the setup, and the owner who was an older Hispanic man. Nick was disappointed to see that it wasn't him working the counter today, because depending on his mood, he'd sometimes offer Nick a good deal on the cigarettes. Today, Nick didn't even bother trying to knock down the price with the middle aged man behind the counter. He would have paid twenty dollars for a pack at this point. He just needed to kill off some of his nerves before he snapped.

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Elena was content in her silence as Nick and Savannah briefly discussed Savannah's reasoning for tagging along. She needed notebooks, apparently, which was peculiar to Elena. Who the hell bought notebooks when they were homeless? Notebooks? Of all things, notebooks? Was she going to write a letter to Bill Gates, her long lost father, and ask him to come rescue her? Maybe Elena wasn't being completely fair. If she had ten dollars on her, it wasn't completely unlikely that she would think to spend it on alcohol or drugs over something more necessary, but for her, those things were necessities. A notebook was the last thing she would ever think to purchase, but then again, even if she had a million dollars, it still wouldn't be something she would ever buy. Elena kept her mouth shut for once, though. Not only did this Savannah girl not use drugs, but she was weird enough to buy notebooks with whatever cash she did have - which, given the circumstances, Elena presumed to be a small amount. She wasn't sure how to react to the girl and didn't want to say anything in front of Nick that might make him regret inviting her in. Beyond that, he had already offered to buy her things and Elena wasn't going to screw that up. Friend or not, she was going to get the most out of someone as she could. That was especially true now, when she only had three dollars to her name, and that was just money she had taken from a pair of Carlos' dirty pants when she did the laundry.

Elena stood by Nick's side, tempted to grab his hand as she noticed Savannah hovering identically on his opposite side. She wasn't psychic and wouldn't have guessed that the two had slept together, but she was jealous enough to feel like she needed to prove that she was better friends with Nick than anyone else. Again, she held back and remained quiet as she strolled down the street beside them. They hadn't gotten far before with little warning, Nick darted into a corner store. The blinking neon light in the front window advertising Bud Light's made Elena want to follow him in, but she opted against it. He didn't invite them inside and actually encouraged them to keep going. Elena wasn't one to feel uncomfortable around strangers. After her family was stolen from her and she was forced to grow up with strangers, spending time in apartments where strangers would come and go freely, and then living in a state prison, she was pretty used to being around people she didn't know. Plus, she wanted to feel this girl out on her own, and had questions that she didn't want to ask in front of Nick. "So, I heard he's dating some blonde chica. What's she like?" Elena asked, keeping her pace steady as she smiled over at Savannah. "That 'girl next door' type? And I bet she still thinks she's better than us, even though her white ass is out here just as much as we are," she continued, her lack of filter beginning to get the best of her before she stopped speaking.

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"Don't waste your money on Holly. I mean, I'm sure she'll appreciate it, but she'd be just as happy if you drew her a stupid picture or something... or write a story about her and read it to her. If anything, get her a pink toothbrush or something she actually needs." Nick advised and Savannah smiled graciously. He was right, Holly would be content with a piece of lint if it was given to her, but regardless, Savannah wanted to do something nice for her. Holly was a sweet kid, and she was so kind and welcoming, Savannah wanted to thank her for it.

It was then they were finally off, and while the tension coming off of Nick was damn near palpable, Elena seemed rather calm. It was clear she didn't know the relationship between her and Nick. The walk would have be peaceful had Nick didn't look like he was going to be sick.

"I'm just going to run into here for a minute,"p.b[ Nick said, motioning to the corner store just ahead of them. [b]"You guys keep going. I'll meet up with you in a second," He said, and was off before they had time to respond. "Oookay?" She managed and the two girls walked on. Elena then turned to her and spoke. "So, I heard he's dating some blonde chica. What's she like?" Elena asked, with a smile. Savannah's brow rose high Clearly she meant Brooklyn and clearly Nick didn't tell her that they had been over for nearly two months....Where did that leave her? "That 'girl next door' type? And I bet she still thinks she's better than us, even though her white ass is out here just as much as we are,"

Savannah laughed sardonically. "You mean Brooklyn, yes, She and Nick aren't together anymore..." She said and before she thought about it. "He and I have been sorta seeing each other but...yes, the bloody trollop somehow thinks the sun rises and sets on her accord..." She said through her teeth and blinked, covering her mouth. She rarely used words like that but Brooklyn brought out the worst in her. "Sorry...I just...to be honest. I just really hate that woman....she makes my blood boil...How Nick could have ever been with anyone that hateful, I will never know..."

She said and since she's pretty much spoken her mind, she continued. "To answer your question, she's still Brooklyn" She said and clearly didn't want to talk about Brooklyn anymore then she had to. She wanted to know more about her actually but she figured she'd wait since Elena struck up the conversation first.

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"Damn!!! Moreno's in bed with you too?! Shit, that boy's hitting all the continents since he split from us," she replied obnoxiously. It would be quite possibly be the only time she wished it, but she wished Carlos or one of the guys were there to hear that Nick had been sleeping with Savannah. Even though that wasn't the exact word that Savannah used, Elena could only jump to the conclusion that "seeing each other" was just some British way of saying fucking. It wasn't like anyone actually just dated anymore, she mused, and from her view on Nick, there was no way that he was going to "see" a girl who didn't want to give him any action either. Elena had been preoccupied with the image of the two of them together to pay much mind to Savannah admitting she hated Brooklyn, until she was pushing open the door to Kmart. She turned back to Savannah and offered her a sultry wink. "I'm not surprised though. Moreno likes 'em feisty. Why do you think me and him click so well?" She added in a playful chuckle after the comment as she stepped inside. Elena wasn't convinced that the store was going to be carrying what she needed to get settled into the basement. She wasn't even thinking that in terms of her wanting to buy expensive or nicer things. It just appeared to be one of the smaller locations of the chain. "I don't know what the fuck he's thinking saying they're gonna have air mattresses and shit here. It's not like -- oh my god, these are the best things ever. Yo, when me and Nick get you high, I'm telling you, these are gonna taste like heaven," she gushed, grabbing a bag of Chile Limón flavored Doritos off of a shelf. Nick had mentioned that Savannah wasn't into drugs earlier, but not only did Elena not care, but she didn't believe that Savannah wasn't into them by choice. She couldn't think of a single person she knew who was over sixteen and didn't smoke.

With the bag of chips still in hand, she pointed to an overhanging sign that signaled the stationary aisle was a few rows down and started towards it. She still couldn't come up with a logical answer for why anyone would need to buy a notebook, but she didn't care enough to question it at the moment. "So, when did you and Nick start hooking up? Wait, and why the fuck are the two of you living with his other girl too? You better make sure you don't go from main bitch to side bitch, because that shit lowkey happens all the time when they start bringing those white girls into the picture."

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"Damn!!! Moreno's in bed with you too?! Shit, that boy's hitting all the continents since he split from us,"
Savannah blushed furiously, but honestly, she walked into that ,so she let it go. Elena spoke easy, and while the words were highly obnoxious in a similar way that Brooklyn's were, there wasn't a hint of disdain, resentment or malice, which was something Savannah found refreshing. It didn't make her any less embarrassed though.

. "I'm not surprised though. Moreno likes 'em feisty. Why do you think me and him click so well?" She said with a wink as they entered the store. Fesity, not a word that was ever used to describe Savannah.

Elena and Brookyln did share that, so what was it that he saw in her? She was many things, polite, gentle, generous, obedient to a fault, she wasn't exciting at all. In fact, she found herself boring...no wonder Nick was so confused, with Brooklyn and now bringing Elena in, -while Savannah was sure that she probably needed a place,- Nick probably needed some excitement in his life, something she didn't provide. If she weren't careful, she felt could lose him.

. "I don't know what the fuck he's thinking saying they're gonna have air mattresses and shit here. It's not like -- oh my god, these are the best things ever. Yo, when me and Nick get you high, I'm telling you, these are gonna taste like heaven," She said, before rushing over to find crisps on one of the counters.

Savannah took a breath. they were going to get her high, Elena said. The idea scared Savannah, her best friend, love of her life, and father of her unborn child, ended his life with drugs, it wasn't something she wanted to try but at the same time, she didn't want to lose Nick, because she was boring...so maybe she'd try it, besides, Nick wouldn't give her anything too strong. "I'll keep that in mind." She said a bit nervously. It was then Savannah- following Elena's fingers- caught sight of the notebooks she wanted, the store was gearing up for back to school, so they were on sale for ridiculously cheep. Savannah snatched up a few and held them in her arms.

"So, when did you and Nick start hooking up? Wait, and why the fuck are the two of you living with his other girl too? You better make sure you don't go from main bitch to side bitch, because that shit lowkey happens all the time when they start bringing those white girls into the picture."

Savannah swallowed. She was right, she had to make she that kept his attention. She'd been to soft, carefree, but now she realized that, just as she and Nick sort of happened after a night with drinks, same could be for him and Brooklyn and they had a history.
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"Well....He and I sort of just happened, we started talking, too much grog and then..." She made a downward gestured with her hands at her waist

"It wasn't long ago and we hadn't even spoke about it since... I mean he acted as if we were together, dates and things, but this was before Brooklyn moved back in, she only came back a few days ago, and he's been distant from me since then...He said he wanted us to be something...but he couldn't explain why he'd been the way he was since she got back and you saw him now....He hardly needed to smoke this much before...." She said and looked up at Elena, horror crossed her face. she took a hold of Elena's arms as if the latina was the only thing keeping her tethered.

"You've known Nick longer, do you really think he'd...I mean..she is horrible, and the way he spoke about her....it's like she was the demon seed of the Antichrist....and since I've met her....she has been acting as such.... He wouldn't...would he?" She pleaded before realized that this girl was probably not one for bring grabbed even if she could clearly kick Savannah's arse without breaking sweat. She moved her hands from Elena sheepishly. " Sorry...I just....I really like Nick is all and....I don't want to lose him..., I mean I'm a bloody writer....I must be a complete bore to him, I couldn't fault him for it...and I really don't know why I'm telling you all of this....." She said, looking away, for her shame, running her hands through her curly hair. "You know, just forget about all of that..." She said, throwing her hand up some. "Air Mattresses," She said, pointing with both index fingers toward the aisles." They've got camping supplies here, I'm sure we can find something suitable for you, yea?" She said and started looking for the aisle markers, wondering if she ran her head into a wall, would it be enough to kill her.

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"The fuck? First of all, I only speak Spanish and regular English, so you gotta chill with all that weird shit you're saying," Elena said, giving Savannah a strange look. Had the girl not released her grip on Elena, she would have shaken the unfamiliar hands away. She had let the "trollop" comment go but with "grog" being thrown into this part of the conversation too, she had to make a note of it. She tried to keep a straight face, but failed and ended up releasing a laugh when she realized that Savannah was being serious in her dramatic talks of Nick and their relationship. What was just as laughable was how Savannah motioned to herself instead of verbally saying that they had had sex. Hell, if she had sex with Nick, she'd be shouting it to the world. In Elena's mind, though, Nick would be a nice trophy boyfriend. Sleeping with him would be an accomplishment. She liked him a lot as a friend, despite their relationship only being refueled a day ago, but her genuine feelings for him were strictly platonic. There was a jealous side of her that wanted him fully, sexually and emotionally, but that was just to spite everyone else. She didn't love him like this Savannah chick apparently did; that was for sure. "From what I heard, he hooked up with that girl years ago. Like... mad years ago. You know Moreno's a good guy and all, but unless you're dirtier in the sheets than you seem to be outside of them, I'd be worried if I were you," she advised, though shrugging as if it wasn't that serious. "But you only fucked once, right? Maybe he doesn't think it's as serious as you do. He can talk all he wants to about wanting to 'be something' but unless he says he wants to be something now, don't take it for shit. If he's too stupid to pick who he wants, you gotta show him how obvious the answer is." She was speaking as she headed in the direction that Savannah pointed in, still unconvinced that there would be anything she needed here.

"Destroy whatever it is that he likes about the bitch," she continued nonchalantly as she knelt down to look at the scarce selection of sleeping bags that the store carried. It definitely wasn't surprising to her. No one went camping in New York, so it wasn't like there was a huge market for the things in the heart of the city. However, she was sure that the large Kmart in Penn Station would have something she needed. Unimpressed at the selection, she got back to her feet and met Savannah's gaze. "This shit isn't any good. I'm gonna have to get Moreno to come with me to the big one in Penn. If you're really gonna waste your money on paper, let's buy those now then," she suggested, heading towards the front of the store again. She glanced back at Savannah with a devious smile as they neared the line. "Oh my god, I'm pretty sure there's one of those Victoria's Secret stores on the way. You should stop in and pick up something special for tonight."