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Nick Cuarto

The Leader

0 · 710 views · located in New York, NY

a character in “The Lost & Found”, as played by Collapse

Description

The Leader

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I was born under the name of: Nicolas Cristiano Cuarto

Call me: Nick

I was born on: January 5th, 1990

I was born in: Seville, Spain

I make a living by: selling drugs

People would describe me as being: a loyal friend. I try to be good to all of the people I live with, regardless of their character flaws. We've all been through a lot of shit to have ended up here and I don't think that me being a dick would help anyone. I try to take care of the younger ones when it comes to food and money, and I'd physically take a bullet for them. However, I try not to get too involved in the little squabbles that occur among the group. I think it's healthy for everyone to be able to defend themselves since it's not like we're all gonna live together forever, and they all need to be prepared to hold their own. Besides, I don't want to take sides and favor anyone. Sometimes it's hard to put up with Holly's constant talking and it sucks watching Robbie waste himself away on the constant use of hard drugs, but it's easier to deal with their quirks than to start a fight or kick them out. I guess you could say that I'm usually pretty laid back. I don't want to fight with anyone but if someone pisses me off, sure, I'd kill 'em. I like to think that I have a good sense of humor and generally a positive outlook on life, or at least I try to come off that way.

I ended up here because: my parents passed away when I was fifteen years old and I didn't want to move back to Spain. I was born to Andres Cuarto, a commercial plane pilot, and Ana Costa, a flight attendant. My parents worked together and when they were stopped overnight in London, I guess they became more than friends and nine months later... there I was. My mother was twenty-one when I was born and my father was twenty-six, but neither of them were ready to raise a child. So, when I was born, my father's parents took custody of me. Although they were both born and raised in Madrid, they had relocated to Florida in The United States after my father graduated high school. I never saw my mother after my father brought me to The United States but my father came to visit a few times every year until I was five. By then, he had met a girl that and proposed to her and because my grandparents were aging, they urged him to bring me back with him to Spain so I could grow up with my father and somewhat of a traditional family. His fiancee was totally against it though. She only wanted to take care of kids that were actually hers and didn't think that it was fair that she would be stuck with a child from a one night stand. There was a fallout between my grandparents and dad because of this, and he never came to visit again.

Compared to other people, my childhood was actually pretty nice. I lived in a small house with my grandparents only a few blocks from the Florida Gulf Coast. The neighborhood was composed of mainly retirees but I made friends at school and had a pretty happy life as a kid. I played sports, did well in school and had a good relationship with my grandparents. Even as a young teenager I didn't get into too much trouble. I got a job at a local restaurant as a busboy and although I would smoke weed sometimes with my friends, I only did it to be "cool". My grandfather was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer a week after I turned fourteen and it took his life almost four months later. My grandmother was heartbroken and her heart literally stopped working only nine weeks later when she died of a heart attack. Fourteen was a pretty shitty year in my life, I guess.

I spent six months in foster care before "running away". I put that in quotes because it was more of being kicked out. I guess I kind of fell apart after my grandparents died so suddenly and I started smoking weed a lot more. I get that it's illegal but it's not like I stole money from my foster parents, got in trouble at school or ever got in trouble with the law or anything. I only smoked to calm myself down but they got all pissed off about it and after a few warnings, gave me an ultimatum: leave or they'd request that I was sent to a boy's reform home. So, I left. I had a few hundred dollars that I had saved up from busing tables so I put some of it towards a bus ticket to New York City and literally left with nothing more than the clothes on my back and the money. I was lucky enough to find a spot at a home for runaways as soon as I got to NY and even though I didn't like how trapped I felt there, it was nice to have a warm bed and a place to shower. The shelter helped me find a job at a local restaurant where I could bus tables like I did back in Florida and after a few weeks of busing, I was upgraded to a waiter. Not some great promotion to brag about but it brought in more money. While I was working there, I became friends with another kid, Miguel, who was waiting tables and selling drugs on the side. His older brother was big in the drug game in Manhattan and he hooked me up as a dealer. I left the shelter and moved in with Miguel and a few other guys, and between work at the restaurant and dealing, I was actually doing pretty well for a sixteen-year-old.

I met Killens maybe a year and a half after I got to New York. A rival group of dealers had accused him of stealing from them when he spent the night at one of their places and I happened to be walking down the same alley that they were in on the night that they were fighting. I recognized the guys that were attacking him, so I shot them. Yeah, maybe it's a little bit of an overreaction but I just claim that I was doing it to save Killens' life. Killing those dicks was just an added bonus. We became friends after that and Killens moved into the apartment with my friends and I.

When I was two months away from being eighteen, I quit my job at the restaurant to deal full time. I met Brooklyn this year and I seriously owe her my life. Even with Killens third-wheeling, I think it was our first official date when we went to a movie and dinner one night. While we were out, the cops raided the apartment that Killens and I shared with some of the other dealers, and a gun battle ensued. Miguel, his brother and the other three guys that were there were killed. All of my cash, drugs and possessions were there, but there was no way that I could go back to retrieve it without being arrested for being associated with the drug ring.

Killens, Brooklyn and I needed a place to stay, and we ended up finding an abandoned warehouse that we were able to stay in. Since then, we've had to move a few times to new buildings, and even though none of them have running water or electricity, it isn't really that bad. We make due with what we have and as more kids showed up, we kind of made a family.

So begins...

Nick Cuarto's Story

Setting

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Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto
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Because the past April had been filled with countless rainy days, Nick was more appreciative of May mornings like today. The air was light and at a perfectly comfortable temperature and the nice weather put him in a good mood. It wasn't uncommon for him to be up this early. He usually left home around 6 AM and met up with his first clients at Penn Station around 6:30. They were a group of sixteen-year-old rich kids from Long Island who commuted into the city to attend Xavier High School. They were always a reliable sell for some weed and Adderall and he could really charge them as much as he wanted and still make the sell. After leaving them, he'd take the subway down a few stops a make a few more deals before returning back to the warehouse. Most of his morning stops were school kids. It wasn't as risky selling to them, since most of them were middle-upper class looking kids and Nick could pass off as being just another one of their friends. Later in the day, when he'd need to make deliveries to more of his older clients, especially the ones living in housing projects, he'd send Holly over to do it. She didn't look like someone who would be carrying drugs and at least until this point, that had been enough for her to never get stopped and questioned about being there.

His morning route usually brought in one hundred dollars and then depending on the day, he usually brought in another hundred or two that night. Most of the others weren't up early, so Nick usually stopped to get breakfast before returning back to see them. He liked taking some time to be alone. It wasn't like he hung out with the kids he lived with 24/7, since most of them spent a lot of time out of the abandoned warehouse working or getting into trouble, but it was rare that he was ever there alone. Especially since he grew up as an only child, it was kind of difficult to be around people all of the time. A little alone time was healthy.

After grabbing a bagel, Nick headed back to the warehouse. It was only accessible through a small alley that was blocked by a dumpster but after climbing over it, a heavy metal door was visible. Once pried open, it opened up to a large, crumbling room. There had been some type of explosion in one of the machines that had occupied the space and authorities claimed that the radiation levels that were left were too high for it to be occupied for at least five years. No one had bought the space, at least not to Nick's knowledge, and it was taken over by the city but there were no funds designated to restoring it, so it was left as another unfinished project. The group was able to make it as homey as possible, though. Mattresses were scattered throughout the room as everyone had claimed a small section for themselves. It was nearly 9 AM now, but since many of the others worked throughout the night, Nick wouldn't be surprised if some of them slept until mid-afternoon.

Not wanting to wake anyone who wasn't already up, Nick quietly made his way over to the farthest corner of the room where he and Brooklyn slept. She was still asleep so he sat down on a lawn chair next to the mattress and began to eat his bagel.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto
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#, as written by Writer
Holly had struggled with sleep for as long as she could remember. It probably started around the same time as the sexual abuse, but even after that ended, her nights continued to be restless. When they were kids, she would keep Hailey up into the late hours or the night with her nonstop chatter and energy until her mother's boyfriend would threaten to beat them if they made another sound. Even then, it was nearly impossible for Holly to stay in bed without moving or making noise. It was like she had an overflowing amount of energy building up inside of her and when she couldn't release it, it felt like she could literally explode. Although it had gotten a bit better over the years, it was still difficult for her to fall asleep and even when that happened, she could only sleep for a few hours at a time. With that in mind, it was no surprise that after only four and a half hours asleep, Holly was awake by eight that the morning.

Although she had only been awake for a mere seven minutes, it felt like an eternity of laying there silently, hoping that Hailey, who slept on a mattress beside her, would wake up. She would roll over to one side and then decide that she wasn't comfortable and quickly switch positions until she couldn't stand laying down anymore. Although she wanted to interact with someone, she knew better than to wake Hailey up if there wasn't a real problem, so she slipped out from under the stained comforter that she slept under and began to shift through her and Hailey's belongings. They didn't have much and most of their possessions were really Hailey's, but Holly did have a box filled with some clothes, makeup, a koosh ball and a few bags of chips. The nail polish sparked her interest but after painting three of her nails, she was ready to do something different and changed out of the t-shirt and sweatshirt that she usually slept in, and into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. She moved onto the koosh ball, tossing it into the air a few times. The toy was one of the few useful suggestions that a psychologist had made when she was a kid in school. It gave her something to do with her hands when she needed to expel energy and even after leaving school, it kept Holly entertained for a little bit longer than most other things.

By now, Holly was baffled at how Hailey could still be asleep. Even though she had been awake for less than an hour, it felt like at least three, and she was tired of occupying herself. She lightly threw the ball at Hailey's face, sitting at the bottom of her mattress. "Are you awake yet?" she whispered.

Holly didn't listen to Hailey's response though, because she heard someone coming in and when she got to her feet, she saw that it was Nick. He was always nice to her, even when Brooklyn wasn't, and he always paid her for delivering drugs to his "friends" for him.

"Hi Nick," she said as she approached him. He was sitting in a folding chair eating a bagel, next to Brooklyn, who still lay asleep on their bed. Holly, commonly known to cross social boundaries, sat down next to the sleeping stripper, hoping that she could socialize with Nick until Hailey Jo was ready to do something.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto
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#, as written by Cure
After waking up for the fourth time, this time to Holly's rustling, Roman flung his arms out and gave up on any chance at sleep. It was still mostly black, save the little bit of light that shone through few missing bricks here and there. His feet hung off the bed, exposed from the lack of blanket to cover his tall frame. His shoulder was hurting him again. Actually, everything was hurting, but to be more specific it was that damn shoulder. He turned toward the wall and felt inside a hole in the mattress. His fingers caught some springs and fluff, but then he found it. He dry swallowed two Vicodin before lying back on his mattress. Sometimes it still disoriented him thinking about where he used to be and where he was now. He tried not to linger on it for too long. If he couldn't get his mind off of it--which, to be honest, was quite often in most recent days, what with the ugly April that just passed--he still had his last piece of his old life. The book of the world his grandparents had given him when he was a kid. Now wasn't the time for reminiscing though. He sat up and grunted some, rubbing his shoulder. He wasn't sure what time it was, but he figured it had to be before noon when he looked around and saw Nick inhaling a bagel with Holly sitting wide-eyed next to a sleeping Brooklyn.

Killens swung around and crossed his arms over his legs and smirked sleepily. He nodded towards the bagel before pulling a random shirt on.

"Nick, I'm hurt you didn't bring enough to share. And Holly, it's a pleasure to have as beautiful an alarm clock as yourself."

Not that he would admit it out loud, or sober, but he had a deep respect for Nick. Or maybe it was just the amount of debt he owed him that came in the form of respect. Whichever, Killens probably would have been dead by now if he hadn't pulled him out of the shit he had gotten into. Is still getting into. He ruffled his hair and rubbed his face. "How do you get up so early every god damn day?"

Roman got off of his mattress and stood behind it, waving the blanket over it until it fell down nicely over it. Why he made his bed, he didn't really know. Maybe for a sense of normalcy. The movement stiffened his shoulder, but he ignored it. He'd gotten paid a decent amount for the fight. Normally fighting doesn't pay a lot, but it's just some sadistic gambling game that people around here are into. It doesn't bring in thousands, but it's not like he's trying to buy a mansion or anything.

He grabbed his pack of cigarettes and dangled it between his lips. He would probably sit around. Maybe try to sleep some more. He lit his cigarette and took a deep inhale and just sat and thought. He might go to his secret place later on today. That secret place being the public library. Not that he was super sketchy about going there as often as he did. It just felt better to keep it to himself. Like a lot of things.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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C A R A / / F O R R E S T


Nightmares still kept Cara up some nights; nightmares of her father and of the things she had gone through before running away. Scratching helped, as it always did. After she stopped cutting she just scratched her arms from time to time when she felt like she was about to have a panic attack. That night was one of those sleepless nights she suffered from time to time. Her arms where covered in long red lines from her desperate attempts at calming and soothing herself.

She woke up extremely early; at about 5:07 a.m. to be exact. But she didn’t stood up from her mattress until about 6:15, after she made sure Nick was gone. She took a pair of old ripped jeans and a thin long sleeved white shirt, along with her pair of worn out white converse (they weren’t really white anymore; they where more like a yellowish brown) and changed out of the clothes she had fallen asleep in yesterday. After staring at the floor for a good ten minutes straight, she went to the place she liked the most. The rooftop.

The warehouse she had been staying at for the past few months had a small set of stairs hidden behind a large, old and rusted machine. Ever since they “adopted” her, she had discovered said stairs, climbed them to the top, and found a simple crumbling roof. But simple was enough for her, and so she had been going there alone every morning to just sit around and think about life watching the sun rising up from the horizon.

That morning she stayed there for about three hours, trying to erase the vivid images from her haunting nightmares. But she just grew bored and decided to go downstairs to see if somebody else was awake, only to find Nick, Holly and Roman outside of their beds.

She approached them quietly and greeted them with a simple “Good morning, guys.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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Robbie rolled to his back and stretched, cupping his hands together over his head and letting one fall to the ground and the other laying across his forehead. There was no kicking off blankets or throwing off his sweater, he never used anything, sleeping in as little as possible due to the fact that he has been having night sweats since he was kid. Letting out a yawn he rolled his head to look out of the window, he had picked a spot in a corner next to a boarded up window where he pulled out the middle board. It was a straight shot to the sky and on a good night you could see the moon perfectly, but for now it was dawn and the dark sky was starting to get a bit of color in it.

With a heavy sigh he threw himself up, his body ached but that was nothing he wasn’t used to. It was an everyday thing nowadays, go to bed on cloud nine, wake up feeling like you're forty years older and a hundred times heavier. Throwing off the now soggy shirt he slept in he changed into a grey long sleeve shirt and slid on his worn skate shoes. He cracked his neck and stretched his back out and made his way to the roof stairs. On his way he seen some of the others chatting and grumbled “Mornin’” loud enough for them to hear it and slid past Cara on his way up, although he normally likes talking to people he is the complete opposite when he wakes up so to utter a single word is a miracle.

Robbie liked to watch the sunrise and set it reminded him of good times he had past and present. One of the first things he did was set up a makeshift look out area on the corner of the roof and boy was it a view. You could see just how shitty everything was up until a certain point where the skyline hit the clouds. It always reminded him that you can always find something good in a bad situation. Walking over and wiping the sleep from his eyes he fell into the lawn chair that he acquired when he first arrived in the group. There were several beer bottles scattered around the bottom of the chair the clang of some bottles falling over was a sound all too familiar. He reached down grabbing a larger bottle that he also acquired some nights ago, spinning the cap off with his thumb he took a swig and rested the bottle on his leg Nothing like starting the day off with a drink.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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The previous night had been rough to say the least. Brooklyn had worked until closing, four in the morning, and stopped at the gym on her way home. She usually stopped there after work to shower. Most of the guys that she danced for were fat, old, rich guys who were just as grimy mentally as they were physically, and Brooklyn was as eager as to wash their filth off as possible.

It sucked working so late, especially since Nick woke up so early, because it only gave them around an hour to sleep together, if anything. He was pretty understanding though, at least when Brooklyn reminded him of how much she would make over the weekend. After Nick got back from his morning deliveries, he would usually get back in bed with her for at least a little while.

This morning appeared to be no different. As Brooklyn drifted in and out of sleep, she felt someone sit down on Nick's side of the mattress and instinctively, she rolled over and felt around for his hand. However, when she found it, she knew right away that it wasn't Nick, and when she opened her eyes she quickly found that the dainty hand belonged to Holly. How many times Brooklyn had told Holly to stay the hell away from her when she was sleeping was beyond her. She had suggested countless times that they get her one of those child leashes and tie her down to something but her sister wouldn't have it. Even though Brooklyn liked to blame Hailey for not properly restraining her sister, she did appreciate how patient and protective she was of Holly. When Brooklyn's sister was alive, she had been the same way.

"Are you out of your fucking mind?" Brooklyn said sluggishly, lightly pushing Holly off of their bed and reaching her arms out to stretch. She sat up, rubbed the tiredness out of her eyes and noticed that most of the others were up. Roman was smoking, Nick was eating and Robbie probably,already had his lips around a bottle. Cara was standing near, too. As much as Brooklyn wanted to pull the blanket over her head and sink back into sleep, it was obvious that the others wanted to socialize or something, and Holly had already ruined her tranquil mood.

"I swear to God, Hailey. I will pay for as much weed or Adderall as it takes for your sister to act like a normal person," Brooklyn said, glancing over to the area that Hailey and Holly slept. She grabbed a blank tank top and a pair of skinny jeans and changed into them. Brooklyn didn't mind the others being around when she got changed. She made a living off of stripping for dirty men, so some innocent switching of outfits didn't bother her. However, she'd probably cut their throats open if any of them tried to visit her at work.

"Let's get breakfast," she said to Nick, although it was an open invitation for the others to join as well. She grabbed her wallet, which was hidden under heaps of clothes and random shit, and pulled out last night's pay before stuffing it into her bra. "Bum me a cigarette?" she said, approaching Roman with a smile.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Braden Gable Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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Honestly, Hailey could sleep through almost anything. Traffic noises, thunderstorms, physical altercations... pretty much everything. After living in an apartment full of drug addicts, Hailey figured most people would get used to sleeping through crazy situations. The only thing she couldn't sleep through was something or someone touching her. That's why- when Holly threw the koosh ball at her- her previously still body moved slightly, and she groaned,

"Holly..." She murmured, her eyes still closed as she rolled over on her side, away from Holly's mattress which was adjacent from hers, "Leave me alone..." Hailey tried to snuggle back into her mattress, but after a few minutes, it was apparent that there was no hope of her going back to sleep. With a disgruntled sigh, her upper body rose up off the mattress, and by the time she glanced around, Holly was no longer on her mattress beside hers, but she was now over beside Brooklyn on the mattress that Nick and Brooklyn shared. Hailey stretched her arms and looked at Holly,

"Holly. Get back over here." She said in a soft voice, and mouthed a quick 'sorry' to Brooklyn. Hailey then managed to drag herself to a standing position beside the mattress, then found herself bending down to pull her tattered sheet over the mattress and fold it down, completing the whole thing with her pillow, which was placed neatly at the top of the mattress. Hailey made her bed because it was routine. She liked routine. To be honest, she hated any kind of change. Which is why she hated it so much when they had to move. Hailey switched back to her standing position and twisted her body, trying to pop her back. That's when she saw Braden, curled up on his mattress. Everybody was up except him, which wasn't exactly out of the norm. Hailey actually smiled for a moment. She didn't know why he had to be so gosh darn cute. Hailey saw the others- Nick, Cara, Robbie, and Roman, and she waved to them slightly,

"Morning." She murmured. The only person she was really close to was Holly. And, well, secretly- Braden. So, Hailey tried to keep socializing with the others to a friendly minimum. After a moment of thought, Hailey dug through her backpack and pulled out a twenty dollar bill, throwing it onto Holly's mattress,

"Holly, there's a twenty." She said, "Go get breakfast or something." Hailey sat back down on the edge of her mattress and began to think of what she would do later that day. She and Holly had two drug runs at noon, which should go by smoothly, and then she would have the rest of the day to herself. Maybe she would go to central park, just walk around and clear her mind.... or, maybe, she would come back to the warehouse and sleep... she wasn't entirely sure. Hailey lost in thought at that point.

And then it hit her. Like a brick wall.

At first, Hailey thought it was just a hunger pang, but she soon realized it was much more. Hailey shot up off the bed and clutched the middle of her abdomen.

"Oh god, I think I'm going to be sick." She murmured, more to herself, and without a word to anyone else, she made a beeline for the dumpster that blocked the entrance to the warehouse.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Braden Gable Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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Nick was content as he ate his bagel, his mind pretty blank. It was nice not having to think sometimes. He didn't have to consider what would happen in the future or what had happened in the past. When Nick had first moved to the city, he didn't have a lot of free time since he worked at the restaurant frequently, but when he did have a spare moment, he was depressed to a point where he had considered suicide. The foster care wasn't really what set him off, but more so that his grandparents were both gone. They had been the only ones who wanted him in his life, and to think that his whole life could change because they died bothered him. He was all alone in a huge city. If he died, would anyone care? Would anyone even notice? Things got better when he moved out of the shelter and made friends, and now, with as close to a family as he could have, he was actually pretty happy with his life. Well, maybe it was the marijuana that helped with that, but still, he didn't have many complaints for someone sleeping on an old mattress.

Holly approached, taking a seat next to Brooklyn, and greeting him happily. "Morning Holl," Nick said, finishing off his bagel just as Roman appeared. He joked about Nick not bringing food back for the rest of them and asked how he managed to get up so early.

"I'm not a waiter anymore, Killens," he retorted with a grin. "Besides, shouldn't you be jacking up on protein or metal nails and shit? Isn't that what you fighters eat?" Nick would never say anything, because the last thing that he wanted to sound like was someone's mom, but he kind of worried about Killens being involved in that underground fighting scene. Honestly, Nick guessed that it was probably safer than dealing drugs but he'd heard about kids getting the shit beaten out of them in those fights. Killens could definitely hold his own- that wasn't the problem- it just didn't seem worth it. Nick figured that it was probably more than just for the money though. Even though Nick preferred to keep the peace among his friends, he knew that adrenaline rush that came during a fight all too well.

Apparently, Cara was already awake because she came down from the stairs to the roof and greeted them. He liked Cara. They were opposites in the sense that her parents were both Americans but she grew up in Mexico, while Nick's parents were both from Spain and yet he spent his life in the USA. Although he was into brunettes, he could admit that Cara was hot, and she was a nice girl too. She's probably the last one he'd expect to be out here but he figured that a girl like her would make big bucks as a prostitute.

Robbie gave them a quick hello before heading up to the roof and by then, Brooklyn had woken up. Nick knew that he probably should have asked Holly to move but he figured that that was Hailey's place. Besides, he was used to Brooklyn getting annoyed with Holly, so it was no surprise when she pushed her off the mattress and suggested to Hailey that they put her on Adderall or weed. Nick didn't think it was a bad idea. The kid could definitely use some Ritalin or Adderall and he had a nice stash of it, but again, he didn't want to get involved.

Brooklyn got dressed and suggested that they go get breakfast and even though he'd just had a bagel, Nick was still up for getting a hot meal. He wasn't about to dish out twenty dollars for some pancakes, so he figured that McDonald's would work. "Wanna get McDonald's?" he suggested to Brooklyn, standing up and glancing around at the others. "Killens? Cara? You down?" he asked, turning his head to Hailey's area. "Hailey, you wanna co-" he began, but stopped as she bolted up and ran towards the door, claiming that she was going to be sick.

He looked at the others, not sure whether he should be worried or what, but figured that she was either hungover, or ate at that new Chinese joint down the street last night. "She must've had food from The Palace of Wong last night. I'm telling you, that shit they say's chicken is definitely dog meat or something. That place is nasty."

It would probably be awkward to walk out as Hailey was puking, and Nick figured that Holly or one of the girls would take care of it, so he headed towards the stairs. He walked up a few of them and shouted up to Robbie. "We're going to get food. Wanna come or want us to bring you back something?" As he turned back to the group, he glanced over at Braden who was still asleep. "Should we wake him up?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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#, as written by Writer
Within twenty minutes of Nick coming in, it seemed like everyone besides Braden were awake. Roman never failed to make Holly smile. He was nice and smart, and never snapped at her, even when she did wake him up. Holly agreed that it would have been nice if Nick had brought them back bagels too, but before she could respond, Brooklyn had woken up and was asking her if she was "out of her fucking mind". Even though Holly didn't like it when Brooklyn cursed at her, she never took Brooklyn's anger or annoyance at her seriously.

"It's not my fault that your bed's so comfy!" she exclaimed, allowing herself to fall back onto the bed until she was laying down next to Brooklyn. "I bet you'd let Cara sleep with you."

Hailey called out for her to come back to their area and although Holly was enjoying talking with Nick, Killens and Brooklyn, she was ready for a change of pace. She jumped up and made her way back to where Hailey stood, now rummaging through her bag. Holly's happiness was apparent when her sister tossed money onto her mattress, instructing her to get "breakfast or something". Twenty dollars was enough for twenty different pieces of candy. Even though Holly didn't manage to get through elementary school, she knew that much.

"You're like... the best sister in the world," Holly responded, examining the bill closely before tucking it into her pocket.

She turned to hear Nick asking if anyone wanted to go with them to get McDonald's, and although Holly only planned on stopping at a newspaper stand on the side of the street to get some candy, she would happily join them for some company.

When Nick asked Hailey if she wanted to go though, she burst out of the warehouse, claiming that she was going to be sick. Holly frowned, glancing over at Nick and then back towards the door that her sister had disappeared out of.

She wasn't sure of what to do. It was normally Hailey who took care of her, not the other way around. Still, she wasn't stupid, and knew that it wasn't normal for her sister to burst out like. Even if she had eaten bad food like Nick suggested, wouldn't she have been sick last night too? Holly wasn't sure but after figuring that she was probably the one expected to go out and waiting long enough that she hoped her sister would have finished throwing up if she was going to, Holly slipped outside.

"Are you okay? Nick said maybe you're hungover or you ate bad Chinese food but we didn't eat Chinese food last night, right? So I don't think it's that. Maybe you're dying," she suggested.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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Robbie had his head back and was slowly drifting back to sleep when Nick's voice broke through his day dream. All you had to say was food and he hopped out of his chair capping the bottle he had been taking sips from and placing it back to its usually spot at the bottom of the lawn chair. "Yeah I'll come." He shouted back making his way to the stairs.

He slid down the stairs and passed Nick and the others "Gimmie a minute." He said pacing over to his corner and patted down the clothes he wore yesterday, grabbing a five dollar bill and some change from the pockets. Robbie made money by scoping out rich looking folk at the park and was at just the right place to swipe a wallet or pocket some jewelry to pawn. He knows the owner of the shop, a real scummy dude, he has a system that only effects the people that temporarily pawn there stuff making them the prime target. He keeps a seperate off the record book of the addresses and items that people temporarily pawn and once they take their stuff back and if it's valuable enough, he pays people like Robbie to take it back for a profit.

Pocketing the cash he walked back over to the group, looking around he seen that Braden was still asleep and Holly and Hailey were no longer in sight. "Where's the twins?" His curiosity rang.

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Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello
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Brooklyn got the cigarette that she requested from Roman, although it wasn't given without a playful jab at how she always seemed to take his without buying her own. She lit the cigarette and held it between her lips as she pulled a wad of cash out of her bra and held it up for him to see. "A few more shifts this week and I'll buy you your own cigarette factory," she replied, before returning the cash to her bra.

McDonald's wasn't necessarily what Brooklyn had in mind when she suggested getting food, but then again, neither was inviting everyone else. Back when it was only Nick and Roman, Brooklyn was able to have a lot more "alone time" with Nick than she got now. Roman would tag along sometimes but it never to the extent that he was third-wheeling. He was Nick's best friend but Brooklyn got along with him too, especially since she had known him for nearly as long as she had Nick. Now, with everyone else always around, a lot of things seemed to be a group affair. Brooklyn had never brought it up to Nick or any of the others but it kind of bothered her. Nick, however, seemed content, or even desired having the others around all of the time and since she knew that it really wasn't a huge deal, she figured that it was best to ignore it for now. Besides, it was her who spent most nights out at the club working so she couldn't really blame him.

Robbie agreed to come and Roman had already disappeared outside, not returning even after Hailey did. The preferred twin definitely didn't look well but Brooklyn doubted she did either most mornings. In fact, this was one of the rare mornings that she didn't wake up with a severe hangover. She wasn't sure if Hailey was a big drinker or not, and even if she was, Brooklyn doubted that she would admit it in front of Holly, but that would be a sensible reason for her being sick so early in the morning.

It didn't look like Hailey was going to be up for getting breakfast and although Holly wasn't dumb enough to need one of them to look after her, without Hailey there to occupy her, Holly was probably going to be looking for someone to annoy all morning. There wasn't a chance that Brooklyn was going to be stuck in that position since she had already gotten her fill of Holly for the day, so she kissed Nick lightly before whispering that she'd be waiting outside, and out she went. Cara could handle her, hopefully. It wasn't like she was great at English anyway, and at the rate that Holly spoke at, it probably just sounded like jibber jabber to a non-native speaker.

As she passed, she noted the scent of alcohol already on Robbie (or maybe it just hadn't worn off from last night?), but she wasn't surprised. He could drink more than anyone she knew and she doubted that there were many times when she knew him when he wasn't at least buzzed on alcohol or high on drugs. It was sad, really, but then again, all of their lives kind of were.

Killens was outside waiting and Brooklyn made an effort to avoid the vomit as she walked over to him. She took a final hit off of the cigarette and flicked it to the cement, crushing it beneath her shoe as she walked a bit past Roman and onto the sidewalk. "So, we're getting fancy today with McDonald's. I hope you called ahead and made a reservation for us, Roman," she said, sarcasm dripping from her words as her eyes darted impatiently towards the warehouse door where the others still were.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Braden Gable Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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C A R A / / F O R R E S T


The reason why Cara didn’t talk much was because knew she wasn’t good at speaking English; in fact, she kind of sucked. She could keep up a decent conversation, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Plus her accent kind of sucked too and made it hard for others to understand her when she started to babble. So she just let the people around her handle the conversation and she’d just nod her head a few times trying to sound interested in what was going on.

By the time she greeted Nick, Roman and Holly, everyone but Braden started waking up. Slowly their voices grew louder and the conversations more difficult for her to keep up with. So far she knew about the trip to McDonald’s they planned on making to grab some breakfast, and about Hailey’s sick stomach.

To say Hailey looked bad was an understatement; sure she sometimes drank and woke up with a hangover, but this was nothing like it. She looked like she’d just seen a ghost and that worried Cara a little. What if something serious was happening to her? She knew Brooklyn was the oldest, but both Hailey and Holly where pretty young, and Cara felt a little responsible for them sometimes, as if they where the younger sisters she never had.

She watched as Brooklyn walked outside to where Roman was waiting and followed her. One thing about Cara was that even though she was pretty skinny, she could eat like a wrestler, so food could not wait any longer. She grabbed a couple of bucks from under her mattress (yes, she knew it wasn’t an original place to keep her money at but she didn’t have that many options either), walked out into the cool May air and snorted trying to cover her laughter as she heard Brooklyn’s sarcastic comment to Roman about McDonald’s.

But as soon as she saw Hailey’s vomit on the pavement and the scent hit her nose, her face contorted into a grimace. “Well, there goes my appetite,” she joked quietly. Of course nothing could ever quench her animal-like appetite.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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Robbie agreed to come get something to eat with them, and Killens suggested that they just bring Braden back something since he was still asleep. It puzzled Nick how someone who lived such an unstable life could sleep that soundly. Nick seemed to wake up at the slightest noise, always worried that it was someone coming in to rob them or something. The heavy door was creaky enough where he'd hear anyone trying to come in, but he wasn't going to rely on that as a security system. Maybe the difference between Braden and him was that Nick felt responsible for the safety of the others and Braden, well... didn't. It wasn't that he was a bad dude or anything, but he was kind of just in it for himself. Nick couldn't blame him. Out here, it was necessary to look out for yourself.

Nick smiled as Brooklyn kissed him before heading outside to where Killens was waiting. Cara followed shortly after and Robbie's question of where the twins were was answered as the two came back inside. Holly got her sister a bottle of water, although not before performing a trick with the bottle, and then was told by Hailey to head off with them and bring something back for her.

"I'll make sure she brings it back for you," Nick reassured Hailey with a wink. They all knew that Holly couldn't be trusted with large amounts of money or else it'd be gone within minutes on candy or stupid knickknacks.

He followed Holly and Robbie out of the warehouse where the others waited and saw Brooklyn already standing at the end of the alley, on the sidewalk.

"You that hungry that you can't even wait for us?" he asked, smiling quizzically as he approached her. He took his hand in hers as they headed down the street. There had to be eighty, maybe ninety, McDonald's locations in Manhattan alone, so even though Nick knew the city like the back of his hand, you could really walk in any direction and find at least one of their restaurants within ten minutes.

As they approached the corner, he spotted Killens on line for a pretzel. "Damn, did you and Brooklyn light up without me or something? Even I'm not as impatient as you guys when I've got the munchies," he joked. After Roman had ordered, Nick added in, "I'll take a pretzel too." He exchanged a few dollars for the soft pretzel and turned to Brooklyn, offering her a piece before nearly swallowing the rest in one bite.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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#, as written by Writer
As soon as Holly heard Hailey say, "Go on," she had already headed towards the door. Her sister continued to talk about a biscuit or something, but Holly had already moved on to new thoughts. "Okay! Bye! See you later!" she shouted, running out the door and past the dumpster. Brooklyn and Roman were out of sight but Cara was out there, soon followed by Robbie and Nick.

Nick caught up with Brooklyn as they exited the alleyway but Holly lagged back, examining the twenty dollar bill that Hailey had given her.

I could get like five orders of pancakes with this... or like a million bags of Skittles... or half of five pancakes and half of a million Skittles. But I need something to drink too! Definitely soda. I don't want milk and Hailey always says she's gonna kill me if I get coffee. I like Sprite, I could get that. Sprite! Hailey wants a Sprite too. I remember that.

She caught up to the others once they had stopped at a pretzel stand with Roman. Holly slipped the money back into her pocket and glanced over at Cara. She was the only blonde in the group and was a very pretty girl. Holly always verbalized how she thought that she could be a model. Even though she was white and blonde, she was from Mexico, which Holly didn't understand. Hailey had told her that it was rude to keep asking about it though, so she finally just accepted it. However, she still found it to be somewhat interesting when Cara could speak Spanish better than she could English.

"What are you going to get?" Holly asked, glancing over at Cara. "Say it in Spanish. It sounds cooler when you say it in Spanish!"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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C A R A / / F O R R E S T


Cara stood motionlessly at the end of the alley, watching as Roman went off to buy a pretzel, as he announced. Of course she knew he too couldn’t wait too long and had to get something to eat. She contemplated following him and buying a pretzel for herself, but decided on staying and waiting for the others to catch up.

Soon enough, Nick came out of the warehouse, walking away with Brooklyn, leaving Cara alone. But not for too long because she knew too well who was missing: Holly, who came out smiling brightly, examining her twenty-dollar bill. Hailey had made a great mistake by giving that to her twin sister because Cara knew Holly would spend it in something sugary like candy or chocolate.

Cara started walking slowly, trailing behind everyone as she too made her way to the nearest McDonald’s. She could feel a pair of eyes watching her and her only guess was that Holly kept staring at her probably still wondering how could she be white, blond and come from Mexico. Sometimes that girl was too naïve for her own good. But before Cara could start daydreaming like she usually did, a cheerful voice cut through her thoughts.

“What are you going to get?” she heard Holly ask. Cara opened her mouth to respond but before she could utter a word Holly spoke again.

“Say it in Spanish. It sounds cooler when you say it in Spanish!”

Cara was actually very fond of Holly. She considered her a little sister and even though sometimes she couldn’t catch a word of what Holly was saying, she liked talking to her the most. Out of everyone in their small group, Cara considered herself closest to Holly than to anyone else.

“I’ll probably get an hamburgesa de pollo, papas y refresco. That’s Spanish for chicken burger, fries and soda.” Cara replied with a relaxed smile on her face, sliding her hands into her jean’s pockets and playing with the bills she had grabbed from under her mattress.

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Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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Roman replied to Brooklyn's snarky remark by asking where she would like to eat instead. She could list a few places if she wanted to. A diner, Panera, or a café would be nice, but they didn't have a dollar menu and Brooklyn knew that not all of the kids made as much money as she did. Although she never bragged to anyone about how much she made, her job gave her a pretty steady income. If she didn't splurge as much as she did on top shelf liquor, designer dresses, or shoes that always ended up being left at clubs after having one too many shots, she could probably live a fairly comfortable life in a studio apartment, even in Manhattan standards.

It wasn't that Brooklyn felt like she was better than the others, but sometimes she felt like she wasn't as desperate as them. She had been in Cara's shoes right after leaving home when she "worked the streets" but that was what... eight years ago? Working as a stripper, or an exotic dancer as many of the girls she worked with called themselves, wasn't the most socially acceptable job but she was doing it on her own terms. To some extent, she was living on the streets on her own terms too and as time passed, Brooklyn wondered when she would be ready to move on from the street life. She didn't want to be the bitch trying to act like she could eat at five-star restaurants while the others weren't sure where their next meal would come from, but at the same time, she wasn't sure how many more McDonald's breakfasts she could stomach.

"McDonald's is fine," she said to Roman, her tone more somber than before, as she pulled her fingers through her hair. He said that he felt like it was going to be a good day, but Brooklyn wasn't so sure of that. Hailey was sick and if she had the stomach virus or flu, or some other contagious illness, Brooklyn was going to be pissed. That in combination with the other Bennett waking her up had put Brooklyn into an uneasy mood.

It didn't help when Nick came out, joking about how impatient she and Roman were as they headed towards the pretzel cart that Roman was standing in line in front of. He offered her a bit of the pretzel, but she pushed it away, uninterested in his humor or food this morning.

Her mood definitely had changed quickly from being able to kiss Nick goodbye and crack a sarcastic joke, but sudden mood changes weren't uncommon for her. Maybe that added to how she got a reputation for being a bitch.

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Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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Robbie was the last one out the door and had to jog a little way to catch up to the group. He never cared for McDonald’s but when it came to their breakfast he was all over it. He wasn’t really awake yet so he kept to himself for the most part catching slight fragments of conversations here and there but not really feeling like giving any input. A couple blocks from the warehouse and they had caught up with Roman at the pretzel stand, there wasn’t much that Robbie didn’t like but pretzels were at the top of the list.

He finally started waking up and noticed that Holly was staring at the twenty like it was a million bucks. It was an amazement that Hailey would give her a twenty instead of Nick or someone that was actually responsible. Everyone knew not to give himself any money even if it was to only be held, it was clear to not trust him with money knowing his habits. They shouldn’t trust him and he didn’t even trust himself. Looking up he realized that the way they went put him pretty close to the old mans pawn shop but seeing how early it was he probably wouldn't be open quite yet. He figured by the time they got to McDonald's, ate and headed back he could stop by to see if he had any work for him to do.

Finally tuning in to the conversation, realizing he had been in a wicked stare with his feet he caught the last bit of conversation between Cara and Holly. “What about you Holls? Whatcha getting, or are you gonna just get your sister something and pocket the change to grab some candy on the way back?” he chimed in with a smirk.

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Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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#, as written by Cure
Needless to say New York wouldn't be New York without its tourists, but still. This early? Roman thought as he moved around sightseers more than just a few times. Along the way, he listened to Holly's humorous, borderline racist if she weren't so naive, conversation with Cara. It still surprised him that someone as quiet as Cara could really get along with Holly as she did, but the proof was right in front of him. Then again, she hadn't been on the streets as long as some of the others had been. Roman used to be the same way when he first ran away, but now he didn't really find the need to hold long conversations anyways. They were all just trying to make it through.

As per usual, the McDonalds was fairly crowded. The smell was always unsettling for him, so when he suddenly lost his appetite he simply ignored and stared at the menu. Killens wasn't exactly in the mood for something new, so he decided he would go with pancakes and water instead. He waited in the obnoxiously long line with a frown, but soon enough the line started moving, and pretty fast too. The girl at the counter looked about his age, spoke quickly and peppy. After he paid, he stepped to the side so the line could get moving. When he got his food, he moved from the counter and made eye contact with Nick, nodding towards where he was gonna sit. He chose a booth near the window so he could stare out into the streets. As soon as he sat, Roman began to cut his pancakes into bite size pieces the way his Gran did for him when he was so small.

Killens was interrupted from his daydream when he felt a pair of eyes looking at him. He looked around some and saw a big guy coming in. He knew the man. He had a scar down his face, body builder arms, at least twice Roman's size, which was probably why he was so angry when he got defeated by some as slim as Roman. Granted, it took a few ass beatings to finally take the guy, and the dude was kind of drunk, but it was months ago that that had happened. Roman gave him a look back before turning back around. The guy wouldn't do anything in public, not unless he was as crazy as he look, so it was questionable. Killens took a sip of water and rolled his shoulder out as he stared out into the streets.

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Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto
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Just as he turned to enter the McDonald's, Nick spotted one of his regulars on the other side of the street. He was supposed to deliver some weed to the guy, David, later that evening. With Hailey being ill though, Nick wasn't sure if she would be well enough to travel into Chinatown and he didn't want to send Holly there alone. Although she was capable of making deliveries without Hailey, Nick didn't want to take the chance that she'd make a racial comment about David or his family and lose a client. Nick didn't mind heading to that side of town, especially since David worked at his parents' restaurant and always hooked him up with free food, but since he was right here, it made sense to just give it to him now.

Nick barely missed being hit by a cab that was turning the corner as he crossed the busy road, but he managed to catch up with David. He was a Chinese-American who was around Nick's age and, from what Nick knew, had been in New York since he was a toddler. He lived above the restaurant with his parents, two younger sisters and grandmother who all also helped out in the restaurant. His parents seemed to want David to take over the restaurant once they retired but he wanted to do something art-related so it caused some tension.

"Hey man," Nick said once he had approached David. "You still need?" he asked, continuing to walk with him as to not draw any attention to them. After he confirmed that he needed a twenty bag, Nick reached into his pockets, rummaging around until he realized that he hadn't brought any with him. Back at the warehouse, Nick usually held between a half and one pound of weed at a time. He'd restock every week, give or take a few days, depending on how much he sold.

"Shit, I left it back where I'm staying," Nick said. He realized that they were now only a block away from the warehouse and although Nick could invite David back with him to make the deal in private, he didn't really want any of his clients to know where he lived. Despite David being a good six inches shorter and at least fifty pounds light than Nick, the last thing he needed was to be robbed and he didn't want to put any of the others in danger either. "Wait here, I'll be back in a minute," he said, quickly making his way down the street and then ducking into the alley.

He moved past the dumpster and quietly pushed the door open, not wanting to wake Hailey if she was asleep. He didn't bother to check though, as he jogged over to his area and portioned out what he guessed was an ounce of weed, before slipping it into a Ziplock bag and into an empty DVD case. It was the least sketchy way for Nick to deliver during the daylight and he bought the cases in bulk from some guy on Canal Street for less than a quarter per case.

Nick found David where he had left them, and they continued to walk down the street again. When he had reached his subway stop, Nick handed him the DVD case, grabbed the cash, and they went their separate ways. Although Nick felt bad about ditching Brooklyn and the others at McDonald's, he figured that making a deal was a valid excuse and he thought that they would probably be finished eating by now anyway. Instead of going back to the McDonald's, he returned to the warehouse.

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Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto
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Honestly, Brooklyn was trying to be as gentle as possible with Holly today, which didn't happen too often. However, her efforts seemed to be useless as the slight mention of her and Hailey's livelihoods being trivial and of school sent Holly into a defensive frenzy. It didn't surprise Brooklyn, really, as she knew all too well that Holly could be a brat at times. Just like a child, her cheerful persona was matched with one of the opposite where her hyperactivity generated a storm of complaints, whines and insults that made Brooklyn want to snap her neck when it was directed towards her, and laugh when someone else had to deal with it.

Despite knowing that Holly wasn't really trying to insult her as much as she was trying to justify her own life, it did bother Brooklyn when Holly claimed that how she made money wasn't a real job either, and even more when she quoted Braden's description of it. It was true that a majority of the people who Brooklyn made the best money off of were older men, and yeah, a lot of them were sickos who were old enough to be her father, but it was worth it. The young guys that came in were either arrogant assholes or they were too broke to invest her time in.

Brooklyn followed Holly through the alley, catching up to her as they entered the warehouse. "What I do actually is a real job, kid, and for the record, I might take off my clothes for those "dirty old men", but your sister's the one who used to fuck them for like, a quarter of what I make in a night," she snapped at Holly, who had sat down next to Hailey. Brooklyn set the soda down on the floor next to Hailey's bed and tossed the bag of food towards her, along with her change. She wanted to tell Hailey how annoying her sister was, but she figured that Hailey knew, and besides that, she still kind of felt bad that she wasn't feeling well. Plus, her comment about Hailey's prior involvement in prostitution was probably harsh enough.

In only a few hours, Holly had managed to get on every nerve that Brooklyn had in her. Braden was right behind her with the comment about her work, and Nick was the icing on the cake by ditching her. Had he stuck around, she wouldn't have had to deal with Holly's ignorance on her own and they could have spent time together as a couple. Robbie, Killens and Cara were the only ones who hadn't bothered her yet today, but Cara barely counted. She probably didn't know enough English to say something that would piss Brooklyn off, and Robbie was probably already strung out.

As she turned away from the twins, she spotted Nick by their bed and she glared at him. He'd probably been here all along, she figured. Right after they'd made it to the McDonald's, he must have turned around and came back to sleep more or just enjoy the peace and quiet that rarely seemed to exist in the warehouse. "Where the hell have you been?" she shot, slipping past him and towards a box of her makeup. She grabbed her small mirror and began to apply eye makeup. She was pissed off, and in her mind, rightly so,.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Braden Gable Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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#, as written by Thunder
Braden must have been on the roof for a good half hour or maybe even longer, because by the time he had finished smoking his bowl and returned downstairs, nearly everyone was back. Brooklyn and Nick were in their area of the warehouse, and as Braden quietly moved down the staircases, he heard Brooklyn unhappily asking Nick where he had been. Braden thought that Nick had left earlier with Brooklyn and the others to go get breakfast, but apparently not. It was odd though, since he had been alone with Hailey at the warehouse, so he must have slipped off somewhere when they were on their way to breakfast. Brooklyn's pissy attitude about Nick doing his own thing was a prime example on why Braden wanted to stay as far away from a real relationship as possible. Brooklyn was angry and bitter and to put it bluntly, a bitch, though, and Hailey wasn't. She definitely had some fire in her but she wasn't the type to get mad at him over nothing. Braden knew that it wasn't fair to write her off as a girl who'd be just as clingy and annoying as the typical girlfriend he envisioned. Still though, he hated the idea of being tied down to anyone.

At the thought of Hailey, he glanced over to her side of the warehouse and found her with Holly, which wasn't a surprise. That was another thing that slowed him from wanting anything more with Hailey. With Hailey came Holly, and even though they were both attractive physically, Holly's personality was seriously off-putting to Braden who couldn't stand the idea of having to entertain and care for someone. All she did was talk and sing and touch things and move around - it was like babysitting a toddler and the last thing that Braden wanted was a kid to take care of.

It was a little strange to see Killens and Robbie talking, but Braden didn't care enough to question it. Killens was Nick's best friend so he usually hung around him, and with that, it also led to him being friends with Brooklyn. Braden wasn't really sure about their back stories or how they met, but he knew that the three of them went pretty far back. Braden didn't especially care for any of them more than another. Besides Hailey, he tried to avoid getting close with any of the others. Sometimes he'd egg Holly on to annoy Brooklyn or he'd drink with Robbie or buy weed from Nick, but that was pretty much it.

As Braden headed towards his section of the warehouse, he nodded towards Nick. "The bud you gave me last night was pretty good," he said, which was the closest version of a "thanks" that he would give. Although Braden was high, he had grown a tolerance to marijuana and from smoking multiple times a day, he was used to the symptoms enough where he could function pretty normally.

He glanced around, noticing that Cara wasn't in sight. He was curious as to where she was, but not really enough to ask, so he proceeded to make himself comfortable on his bed, hoping to fall back asleep after a good smoke.

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Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello
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The once peaceful warehouse was quickly bombarded with tension as soon as Brooklyn, Killens, Robbie and Holly returned from McDonald's. Nick wasn't exactly surprised that Brooklyn was involved, but as she tossed a bag of food at Hailey and maliciously commented on Hailey's past, he couldn't help but to cringe. Even for Brooklyn, that was pretty low. The way that people made money on the streets was right up there with what forced them onto the streets on the things that weren't normally appropriate to comment on. It did seem like Holly had started the conversation though, but even with that, all of them knew that when Holly said something negative, her intentions were rarely of that to offend someone or start a fight. Brooklyn knew that just as well of the rest of them but she was always so defensive and seemed to take things to the next level.

Nick wanted to apologize to Hailey for Brooklyn but his girlfriend quickly approached him and angrily questioned where he had been. Brooklyn didn't normally get upset about them spending time apart but Nick knew that she didn't really want to hang out with the others in the first place, and then leaving her with Holly was probably the breaking point.

"I had to talk to a guy I know," he said, watching as she applied makeup to her face. He glanced back in Hailey's direction and then towards Brooklyn again. "Don't you think that was kind of rough?" he asked quietly, barely noticing Killens and Robbie leaving the warehouse. Braden walked by them and by the smell of it, he had finished off the weed that Nick had given it. That was only confirmed when he commented on how good it was. Nick only nodded, trying to focus his attention on Brooklyn.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello
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#, as written by Cure
Roman nodded steadily once Robbie agreed in his prominent Boston accent. He didn't care if he felt like a cloud or a tree, so long as it took the pain away. He began to step away, thinking the deal was finally sealed, but Robbie continued to talk.

"Listen," he whispered. "“If you’re talking crystal you’re not getting that shit from me. You’re a strong dude and crystal is a dark mistress that will make you her bitch, and i’m not about to take the blame if you lose yourself.”

Killens nodded again, understanding. His goal wasn't to get a high, so not getting meth wasn't a problem for him.

"How considerate of you," Roman muttered.

“I do have pills. Not that weak shit Nick tosses. Strong pills, they’re hard to get addicted to, so you shouldn't really have a problem unless you’re popping them like they’re candy. That good?”

Roman gave him a look when he brought up Nick. It was more instinctive than anything else, but still, just the mere mention of his name during the conversation sent a chill down his back. Roman wasn't sure if Nick had ever supplied Robbie before; he couldn't think of anyone who would promote what Robbie did, but then again that's what he was doing in a way. Going to a drug addict for drugs. That doesn't exactly scream "Say no."

"Yeah," he said as he looked away. "That's fine. Just tell me when you can get them to me, and how much. And there better not be any freaky ass side effects either." Roman stepped away, not wanting to draw the conversation out longer than it needed to be. There was no need to draw attention. More seriously he said, speaking of Nick and Brooklyn "And don't forget what I said about the other two."

With that he went back inside, the tension very clearly having grown since being out there. Even Holly looked nervous as he passed back to his side of the warehouse. Brooklyn had said one thing and managed to make a crossroads war in the whole damn place. Roman was, so far, one of the only ones not tied up in the tension. He lit a cigarette and shook his head.

"I suppose I'll play referee."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Braden Gable Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Robbie Amello Character Portrait: Cara Forrest
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Brooklyn didn't respond when Nick brushed off her question about him deserting her with Holly, claiming that he "had to talk to a guy". She knew that it meant that he was either picking up a supply or selling to someone, and honestly, that wasn't the part that bothered her. She knew that just like everyone else, Nick had to make a living. His job wasn't like hers, which had set hours for her to come in and go home at, so Brooklyn was used to him being out at different times to deliver things to people across the city. With that in mind, though, she also felt like he had more flexibility to make his deals on his own schedule. It seemed to be happening more and more frequently that he'd disappear right after agreeing to hang out with her and then, per usual, act as if nothing was wrong. She was used to his laid back persona but that didn't excuse it. When someone was wrong, they were wrong. She wasn't like him where she could just pretend that things weren't as bad as they were.

"No, I don't think that it was 'kind of rough'," she said bitterly after finishing her makeup. She stood up, taking a step towards her boyfriend who still sat casually in the lawn chair. "I spent the last hour playing mommy to a seventeen-year-old brat who can't read anything longer than a stop sign and has the attention span of a goldfish. And where were you, Mr. 'Let's go get McDonald's!'?" she paused, brushing a strand of loose hair behind her ear before continuing. "Oh, that's right! You were out 'talking to a guy' so you could make some money that I'm sure will go straight into another fucking tattoo or cool pipe that you just had to have, while we're living in this piece of shit place," she continued, her voice growing louder with each sentence. Brooklyn didn't care if she was making a scene or if the others heard. She was pissed off, and although she was directing it at Nick, she was really angry with her life, with herself.

She wanted to continue, to tell him how she couldn't bare to sleep on a dirty mattress on a concrete floor for another night, or how it was fucked up that they had to watch as two little girls wasted their lives away, a boy who could be studying at Harvard was risking his life fighting, a beautiful girl was selling her body, and a boy was literally killing himself every time he used drugs. She was still pissed at Braden for being the source of the comment that made her overflow, so for now, he was still non-existant to her. Still, it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that she was living this life and it wasn't fair that all of the others, who at one point probably had a lot of potential and excitement for life, had seen their lives crumble in front of them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Hailey Bennett Character Portrait: Holly Bennett Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto
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Nick stared at Brooklyn as she exploded. Her emotions were clearly built up, but from what? Could one hour with Holly really have pushed her over the edge like this? After she finished ranting about Holly's limited mental capabilities, she started to verbally attack him. She went on about how he spent his money on unimportant things while they were homeless, and Nick realized that this was probably the source of her anger. Although he understood that Brooklyn was only attacking everyone else to protect herself, she couldn't always play that card and expect for it to excuse her behaviors. Nick loved her, he always would, but it seemed like he was the one who was constantly putting up with her flaws while she used his against him.

He waited until she finished shouting at him before standing up himself, now at a more level position with Brooklyn. He waited a moment, hoping that she would apologize, but she didn't, which was no surprise. She always had to be right and although Nick allowed her to be most of the time, he didn't appreciate her degrading him in front of everyone else, especially after insulting Holly and Hailey.

"You've been gone for an hour, Brooklyn! I get it... we all get it... Holly's a little hard to deal with sometimes, but you're not a fucking martyr for spending an hour with her!" Nick doubted that Holly would even take notice to the comment, but he tried to word it as nicely as possible just in case. "Hailey spends all day with her and now she's sick so we give her one hour off, and you've got to be the bitch like usual. All because of what? She made fun of how you make money? And that's totally unfair, right? Because you're the brain surgeon whose work is untouchable compared to all of us peasants who scrounge for money off of the sidewalk," Nick said, shaking his head as he turned away from Brooklyn. He grabbed a cigarette and a lighter out of his backpack and took a few steps towards the door before turning back to her. "You're the one who makes thousands and thousands of dollars, right? So why don't you do something about us living here, huh? Oh wait... that's right... your money will 'go straight into' more booze and clothes, so cut the shit with that 'I'm the victim' act. We've all got problems, Brooklyn, and I love you, I love you so fucking much, but I'm sick of you taking your problems out on me," he finished.

Nick didn't make eye contact with any of the others, although he noticed that Killens had returned inside, and he slowly walked out the door, inhaling deeply with each hit of the cigarette. Part of him felt bad about stooping low enough to fight with Brooklyn in front of everyone else, but at the same time, she was the one who started it and Nick was tired of having to mute himself in order to avoid more problems. He did his best to keep the drama at a low in the warehouse but it was getting tiring, especially when it involved him.