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Khepri Mahajan

"She's enough to drive a saint to madness or a king to his knees." w.i.p

0 · 309 views · located in New York

a character in “the way we were”, as played by .euphoria.

Description

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    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx“She's enough to drive a saint to madness or a king to his knees.”
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx― Grace Willows
7 Rings: Ariana Grande. you should see me in a crown: Billie Eilish.
You Don't Own Me: Leslie Gore. High Heels: Jojo . S.L.U.T: Bea Miller

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n i c k n a m e s x // x morning sun (her parents) , Pri (by friends and coworkers)

a g e x // x26 years old

b i r t h d a yx // x April 12th ; Aries

s e x u a l i t y x // xbisexual : biromantic (closeted)

r e l a t i o n s h i pxs t a t u sx // xarranged engagement to Christopher Nadar

e t h n i c i t yx // x25% Gujarati Indian, 25% English (mother), 50% Punjabi Indian (father)

h o m e t o w n x // x Tribeca, New York City, New York | lives travels/between in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Edinburgh, Scotland, and London, England for work

o c c u p a t i o nx // x On-site Correspondent for BBC News, however, moved to the New York Times as a journalist since being injured on air a few months back and being forced to take time off to recuperate.

h e xxc o l o rx // x#B76A81






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A P P E A R A N C E


h e i g h t x // x5'9 ft

w e i g h t x // x135 lbs

h a i r x // xNaturally her hair, when she was a young girl, is exactly how it is now a dark, brown color that matched perfectly with her tan skin and seemingly bright eyes. Because of her strict upbringing, Khepri wasn't allowed to cut or dye her hair which is why is it as long and natural as it is. Even after all these years and leaving her faith, she hasn't had it in her to chop anymore than an inch off. Leaving her hair to flow far past of her back and closer to her tail bone with bangs framing the sides of her face. In order to keep it out of her way, usually, Pri keeps it either up in a ponytail or in a bun when she knows she going to be in front of cameras or in any way photographed.

e y e s x // xSharp and focused. Always. Khepri's eyes, while wide and a bright hazel color, are anything but welcoming most of the time. You see, most of the time her eyes are fixated on... something whether that be her laptop or a person she's trailing and nothing else matters at that point. They almost seem... vacant when she's in that 'zone'. When you look her in the eyes, you can always see the gears turning in her brain. However, on the off chance, you get her on an off day they actually seem, almost kind and loving. Her eyes can make you feel as if you're the only thing that matters at the moment, a moment most wish would last a lifetime from Khepri.

o d d i t i e s x // xHaving the career that she has where she's constantly putting herself on the frontlines, it would be expected for her to have her fair share of 'battle scars' and she does. Mostly they're nothing serious, barely visible if you're not paying close attention. There's only two that people can see: the one behind her right ear and another going down her back. Not that she'll ever really tell anyone what happened other than 'Google it.'

s t y l ex // xSince she was a child, Khepri was taught to dress nice, whenever she was leaving the house. Not a hair out of place and that belief has only continued over time since she spends most of her time on camera. Unlike most, Pri has found herself drifting to the classics, the things that never go out of style and always look phenomenal and have a ting of sexiness, no matter what. She doesn't even have a name for it, but if one has to think of a name it'd be a mixture of sleek, modernist with few elements from her mother that were passed on to her. Usually, her outfits consist of blouses and a skinny pair of jeans that accentuate her curves, pencil skirts, a pair of either dark red or black heels/flats, oxfords, a blazer, trench coat, or her signature piece; her favorite and 'lucky' pair of knee-high black Christian Louboutin.

Even on her 'off days', if she's leaving the house she can't just wear a pair of sneakers, blue jeans, and a plain tee shirt. She just can't do it, and it's not appealing to her. Hell, she can't even remember the last time she wore a regular t-shirt out of her apartment. The only time she does, is when she locks herself in her office, hair up in a bun, and a pair of shorts on. But, anywhere else she will only wear the best especially when it comes to pulling inspiration for her ensembles that are strikingly chic with a touch of trend, femininity, class, and glamour. You'll remember Khepri when she walks by. This style goes all the way to her jewelry too, she keeps it simple. Only really wear a ruby necklace from her parents and her engagement ring (obviously); a rather large oval cut diamond that she's had for the past two years.

Her makeup and nails are no different, always polished and put together. There will never be a day where you see her without her 'face' on with only a handful of people seeing her completely barefaced, her coffin-shaped nails, and a lip gloss of some kind as she always been told from her parents to her producers to look 'fresh-faced'.








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L I K E S
xxxxxxxxxxxxcoffee and caffeine • the color, yellow • mysteries • puzzles • banter • being on camera • reporting • solo traveling • technology • roses • people watching • being left alone • oversize clothes • riddles • literature • fresh bedsheets • her family • classical music • writing • late nights • taking control • red wine • keeping busy • humming to herself • activism • debating • being right • concerts • late night drives • dressing up • thriller movies • witty retorts • almond croissants • chess and brain games • satire and sarcasm • crime podcasts • tall men • going out • Stephen King • having a plan • passion and passionate people • Netflix binge sessions • keep her parents happy • loud music • conspiracy theories • kettle cooked chips

D I S L I K E S
xxxxxxxxxxxx• chaotic situations • losing • not getting her way • silver • small towns • big dogs • flats • people judging her • unnecessary drama • secrets • drugs • her stuff touched without her permission • losing • getting caught • bad musicians • tap water • her therapist • slow wifi • being out of the loop • being told to slow down/relax • being outdone • mediocrity • cheap alcohol • people trying her • social climbers • going with the flow • beer • being interrupted • green tea • being second best • abandonment • big messes • being called out • PDA


S T R E N G T H S
xxxxxxxxxxxx• exceptional at the cello • absorbs things like a sponge • stands her ground • hard to read • expert at computers and technology • she's like a dog with a bone when she gets an idea in her mind • pattern recognition • open-minded • confidence • great bullshit detector • memorization • charismatic


W E A K N E S S E S
xxxxxxxxxxxx• saying no to her parents and her fear of disappointing them • refuses to ever give in // stubborn as hell • restless when she doesn't have a story • she doesn't have the best "social skills" or "bedside manner" • doesn't know how to handle rejection or abandonment • her over-reliance of Adderall & caffeine • super goddamn nosey • doesn't know when to quit • doesn't do well with talking about her emotions • inflexible with her time/plans • runs her body to the point of exhaustion • doesn't know when to let people walk away


S E C R E T S
xxxxxxxxxxxx• she may have a "small" reliance on amphetamines and caffeine to give her an edge • has hacked into several 'secure' servers for one reason or another to get a case • how hurt she was before leaving New York • her sexuality • her breakdowns





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P E R S O N A L I T Y
xxxxx highly intelligent xx passionate xx persistent xx charming x
xxxxxxx relentless xx short tempered xx competitive xx stubborn x
xxxxxxxxxxxx loyal xx confident xx courageous xx enthusiastic x
xxxxxxxxxxxxx cocky xx nosey xx perfectionist xx blunt x



Khepri Mahajan has always been taught, even from a young age, to appear perfect to the outside world; the perfect daughter, the perfect student, perfect girlfriend, in every way she was told that she had to be utter perfection. Beautiful, graceful, charming, nurturing, smart (but not too smart where she would scare off a potential suitor) and, while she is now, for the most part, she wasn't always this... intense about holding up to that standard. She wasn't graceful like she is now, she was and still is a little rough around the edges but what attracted people to her other than her looks was the fact that that Indian woman did and still does possesses a finely tuned mind and an analytical way of thinking, being capable of great concentration when it comes to her work and knowing a way out of any situation. She hid the extent of it when she was younger, but the older she got, the more she was okay with the fact that she is a brilliant young woman and now more than ever refuses to hide it. And while she doesn't see herself as a showoff or anything, she does have an immense amount confidence in herself and knows that she has a talent and to say she doesn't get passionate and excited about it or having this thrill when she's given a new story or mystery to solve would be a lie. She is proud of herself so don't ever think she will hide it for anything or anyone. Which is where her 'know-it-all', prideful side likes to come out and play. Since she absorbs things like a sponge with water and can be known as an encyclopedia of information to those around her, it gets to her head. Giving her an ego when it comes to her intelligence.

And anything she doesn't already know, she's determined to find out which is where her inquisitive and unrelenting (some would call 'obsessive' or 'intense') thirst to know everything that's going on around her. She's too damn nosey for her own good, always wanting to know what's going on in any and every situation especially when she gets a hunch. She has to follow it and she's rarely wrong which leads her not to believe in coincidences and if she isn't on the nose at first She'll just figure it out the old fashion way: listening around, pressing people, and lurking in the shadows/sneaking around which leads her into trouble more times than she cares to mention. But, this is what has made her the best of the best in her field at such a young age, she doesn't care what happens to her as long as she gets the story no matter how unhealthy it sounds. She pushes her mind and body to the extreme just be a step ahead as if she's trying to prove a point even though no one really knows to who. Herself? Her parents? She couldn't tell you. This extends to herself and her life as well; not leaving any stone unturned and never leaving a situation until she has absolute closure, she doesn't do cracks. She needs to know before being able to really move on completely.

Some around her believe she is nothing more than a pretty face, a woman who just likes to be the center of attention who acts deep and intellectual in order to seem better than those around her. And, part of it is true. She does believe that compared to most, that she is better. She has seen things, experienced things that people could never even fathom of doing. Is she condescending because of it? You could say that. But, she also feels like she needs to be. She's done too much to be second place, behind anyone. But, behind the hard, overcompetitive exterior lies the fact that she's still the anxious little girl she was as a teenager and there are two people in the world that can make this prideful, sensual, knowledgeable woman shrink right back into that role even quicker; her parents. She will do anything for their approval even if it means bending her own beliefs and ideals to do it. Around them, unless she exactly the daughter they molded throughout the years; quiet, kind, charming, and all-around perfect, she isn't good enough. Even with all the confidence and rebellion in the world, the little girl finds her way out whenever emotions are running high, constantly making her think that she's not good enough and people will leave because of it which has led to the cycle of overcompensation and keeping people more than ever at arm's length or at least that's what her therapist says.

However, she wasn't always like this and even now, she isn't just a woman who craves being in control in order to prove a point. No matter how much she tries to hide it. She's romantically awkward, overly invested, and extremely loyal to those she holds close, seeing them as an extension of her family but, a part she doesn't have to change for and she wants nothing more than to keep them close and satisfied so she feels as if they won't leave. Pri can be an astonishing woman to be around. She can be the life of a party when she actually chooses to be, which may be what attracted her to the group, to begin with other than pissing off her parents. She's a charismatic gal when open to others, always want to display her unbeatable wit and a sharp silver tongue. And of course, enjoying being in the spotlight. What can she say? She loves attention when it's positive attention. The rush of it all just delivers this thrill through her body that no drug or cocktail could ever compare to. But, like the majority of people in the world, Khepri does have definite limits with her socializing. While ample in social situations, sharing her attention and energy freely, wanting to make others comfortable around her, she is keenly aware of the need to "come off of the stage" every so often and return to her solitude, usually when she drains herself and isn't really given a choice.




So begins...

Khepri Mahajan's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Arisa Winston Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #575772
xxxremember the words you told me
xxxlove me till the day i die
xxxsurrender my everything cause
xxxyou made me believe you're mine

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Soren’s day had been going pretty good right up until that moment. Beautiful Strangers had played an acoustic set on local radio, done a Skype interview or two, and arrived at the apartment in loads of time to get set up and warmed up. They hadn’t played a private show in a while, but Richard, their manager, had said the girl organizing it had seemed really eager to book them and had paid handsomely for it.

None of them had asked too many questions. They were too tired, still jet-lagged from flying back from Europe and exhausted from playing six shows in six countries in seven days. Soren wished he could say it felt good being back in New York, but since his parents had moved back to Camden and had been renting out the apartment while he’d been touring, he was waking up to an empty apartment in a city where his memories weren’t exactly the fondest. But it was worth it all to get to do this. He’d do it all over again for that feeling of stepping out on stage.

He hadn't recognized the building at first. They went in a back entrance so they could use the service elevator, which was big enough that they could get all of their gear up to the right floor in just two runs instead of four or five. But there was something strangely familiar about the hall, something Soren couldn't quite put his finger on. It was only when the door to the apartment opened and an all too familiar face stepped out that things finally fell into place.

"Hi guys! Oh my god, it's so good to see you all, it's been too long!" Lauren gushed. Soren couldn't say anything. His stomach had plummeted through the floor and apparently taken his power of speech with it. This had to be some kind of sick joke. It had to be. By the time he came to his senses, Richard was chatting away to Lauren, having propelled them all into the apartment. "You know the guys already?" Richard asked. "Oh yeah, I knew them all the way back when Soren was still mopping floors and making frappés to fund it!" She laughed. Soren's jaw clenched even as he forced a smile.

"We'd better get set up, right?" He said, taking the opportunity to go over to where a small stage had been set up for them. Richard kept Lauren occupied for a few minutes, but eventually, he heard those heels tapping over, caught a whiff of her signature perfume.

"Hello, stranger," she purred, and his jaw clenched again. He didn't look at her, continuing to tune his guitar. "Look at you all. Big stars now, even bigger than the last time I saw you," she added, placing a hand on his shoulder. He wrenched his arm away and took a few steps away.

"Are you enjoying yourself, Lauren?" He asked. "Sneaking backstage isn't good enough for you now, you have to book my goddamn band behind my back?"
"Well, it was the only way I’d get you to talk to me. And besides, you didn't seem to mind me sneaking backstage so much last time," she said. Her tone was teasing but he knew her well enough to see the venom in those eyes and in that smile.
"Because you practically force-feeding me drinks had nothing to do with it," he retorted. Her smile widened, practically dripping with venom.
"You don't have to play the show, you know. If you're really uncomfortable," she said. He shot a glance back to the rest of the band. They had to have known what was going down, but they were making an exceptional show of pretending they didn't.

Soren knew two things. First of all, she had done this to torment him. This had nothing to do with loving their music or wanting to support the band. This had everything to do with him and their history.

And second of all, walking out would be letting her win. If he walked out, she could play the pity card and drag their name through the mud. And he wouldn’t, couldn’t, do that to the others. And he sure as hell wasn’t going to let her win that easily.

"Well, you've paid half upfront. Wouldn't want to waste your money now, would we?" He replied, matching that dangerous smile. Her eyes narrowed ever so slightly, enough for him to count it as a win. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we need to finish getting set up.”

They got their gear set up and tuned, and Lauren pointed them in the direction of a spare bedroom they could use to warm up and finish getting ready. Soren was glad that he usually took his time warming up, because every minute he was doing so was a minute that Lauren would leave him alone. He hadn’t even gotten a chance to talk to Rebecca yet, because she seemed to always be in too close of a proximity to Lauren to risk it. As they went out to start the show, he spotted Erin pouring drinks at the bar. Well. At least he had that much. Erin would back him up if Lauren tried anything, and she’d slap some sense into him if needed. Catching her eye, he mouthed “What the fuck?” before grinning.

The show went well. It was a smaller crowd than their last few shows, but the atmosphere was still good enough that for just over an hour, Soren completely forgot about Lauren. He always put his all into the show, always had. So much so that when he came off stage, some of the crowd chanting for another song, despite everybody wanting to congratulate him, he had to go back into that spare bedroom to recover for a few moments. It was a mistake. He heard somebody by the door, and knew exactly who it was without having to look up, even before she spoke.

“How is it you’re even better than you were the last time I saw you guys play?” Lauren asked, leaning against the door.
“That’s how this works. You play enough shows, you get practice, you get better. Simple process really," he said, leaning in to the mirror to fix his eyeliner.
“You’ve grown up so much,” she mused, and he could see her making her way towards him. His heart was pounding in his throat, but he felt rooted to the spot. “I’m so proud of you.” And then she was right in front of him, a hand on his cheek. He pulled away from her.
“Get the fuck away from me, Lauren. I don’t want anything to do with you.” He warned, and she laughed.
“Oh, but Soren, darling, I’ve heard you say that before,” she purred, running a hand along his arm and going to take his hand. He snatched it away, taking another step away from her.
“You’re pathetic, you know that? It’s so obvious what you’re doing. I wasn’t good enough for you when I was mopping floors and making frappes, but now that people are taking notice? You’re all over me again. It’s sad, Lauren. I’m done with you. No amount of alcohol or drugs in this world could make me want to get with you again.” Lauren hadn’t changed. He knew now she never would.

Almost an hour later, Soren was still on edge after the argument. He didn’t trust himself to drink, didn’t trust that he wouldn’t do something stupid. Staying was a bad idea. He needed to go. He headed back to the spare room to grab his coat and his gear. He opened the door, running a hand down his face- and froze.

Lauren was slumped on the floor. Soren sighed, thinking that she’d had too much to drink or had taken something, and crossed over the room to her. “Lauren?” He called, kneeling down beside her and shaking her shoulder. Something felt wrong. He went to shake her again- and it was then he saw the small pool of blood. “Lauren? Lauren?” He kept calling, panicking. Soren went to feel for Lauren’s pulse, confirmation of something he already knew. Nothing. Lauren was dead. In the doorway, a woman screamed.

He didn’t know what happened then. He didn’t know how he reacted, if he yelled out for somebody, if he just froze. But suddenly it seemed that everybody else knew. He was numb, hardly able to move, hardly able to think. He was just kneeling numbly beside her. Someone said something about calling the police. And as he heard the sirens, something awful occurred to him.

Pretty much everyone at the party knew about their history. They'd been arguing earlier. If the police started asking questions... fingers were going to be pointed his way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark
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xxxxxxxxxxxxthe perfectionistx|xoutfitx|x#8BA3A6

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72 hours and counting. Khepri has been up for a total of 72 hours, a majority of which she spent at the desk in her hotel room just typing away on her computer, trying to come up with a story that wasn't shitty. She spent close to 3 days staring at her computer, not including the four-hour nap she took while sitting at the desk in her hotel room while she was on the phone with Christopher who was persisting that her pain medication mixed with her lack of sleep was only going to cause her to crash. Again. Or at least asked her to step out of her room to get some fresh air. Not that she listened. She promised both him, Lex, and Lauren that she would go to the party which gave her a ton of time to finish her draft, she'd get some fresh air then. But until then she had to focus that was before she saw the blinds of her room open and let in streams of light causing the reporter to cover her eyes and groan. "Ugh! You could at least open the windows so it's not completely depressing in here." Khepri groaned before hitting save on her document because she knew, whatever Lauren had planned would leave it unfinished. She raised her eyes for the first time to see none other than Lauren Clark with her hands on her hips. "How'd you even get into my room? I told them no disruptions."

"It's not a disruption if you tell them you're worried about your friend's mental well being and think she might hurt herself." Khrepi raised her eyebrows as she removed her glasses. "Lauren!" The black hair beauty chuckled. "What? You weren't answering your phone and I need help." The Indian woman raised her eyebrows once more before returning to her word doc. "I'm busy. Some of us actually have careers that never stop." Lauren rolled her eyes. "The world won't fall apart just because Khepri Mahajan stops working." Khepri took a deep breath. "No, but my career might." Anyone else would think she's being dramatic and okay, maybe she was but, as far as she was concerned. If she was ever going to get back in the field, broadcasting these exciting stories from all over the globe, she had to show her bosses that she was healed in every possible way; physically, mentally and that she was better than ever. And instead of taking anyone's advice and taking time off, she's spent her time 'off' thinking of stories that she would get started the moment she was back in front of the camera as opposed to just publishing them in some newspaper. Laur scoffed as she slowly started to close the girl's computer. "And people think I'm dramatic." Pri looked in disbelief as Lauren quickly grab the computer and tossed it on the bed. "Your career will be fine for a night. Now, how long have you been cooped up in here?"

"Two days." Three, but who's counting. "Have you eaten anything." Khepri didn't even look as she gave a signature snide remark as she rubbed her eyes to help them adjust to the world. "Whatever answer gets you to leave me alone quicker." Lauren smiled as she scurried towards the walk-closet, not saying a word until she started to toss out an outfit for her friend to change into. "Great, so that's a no. So, here's the plan: you shower, we get lunch, we get some sexy outfits for tonight, and then start scheming." Pri whined like a child as she caught to pair of booties Lauren tossed towards her. "Why me?" Khepri whined. "Why not Becca or just anyone but me?" Lauren threw her a pair of booties. "Because you're the brains and I need a plan." At this point Lauren was holding Khepri's hand with big eyes. Khepri groaned with annoyance as she ripped her hand away to head towards her bathroom to get ready for the day.

The pair spent the rest of the day getting ready for the party before heading to Lauren's to put on the finishing touches. Honestly, with Khepri, everything was going to look perfect even if it wasn't her party. At this point, the two were made up with their hair and makeup and, at least Khepri was a little more relaxed than usual after partaking in more than enough drinking since Lauren started to tell her how she wanted Soren back and her whole idea. She nodded and gave her advice but was a lot less vocal about how bad of an idea this was. And could you blame her? She had still never told the girl about their little run-in after the breakup and before he left town and honestly, she didn't plan on it. As far as Lauren knew, Soren was just a raging pain in her ass (which he was) and she just didn't like the idea which was why she was reluctant to agree with it. How was she supposed to even bring that up? "Hey you want your ex back? Great. By the way, I slept with him. We good?" She was a terrible person and to null that feeling of guilt, she kept drinking and nitpicking things with the setup of the party. Lauren pulled her aside and smirked. "They're on their way up." Pri smirked back, hiding her anxiety before chuckling. "Great, then I'm going to go get dressed before everyone shows up and give you some space to enact that twisted and very fucked up plan of yours."

"And go get another drink, Jesus Christ." It wasn't that she was worried about it coming out at any point in the night, god no. She knew neither her or Soren would 1, ever bring it up and 2, would rather die than tell Lauren. It was just the fact that it happened and this was the first time in years Khepri was around Lauren in person and now it was starting to weigh on her. The polished woman took her time getting ready, not only to stop from facing any awkwardness but because she had to make sure she looked absolutely perfect. This was the first time she was seeing the whole group together and, yes, she had to show off her hair that was down and framing her face just right, her makeup, her emerald green silk dress that stopped right above her knees and strappy black heels, down to even the shine on her engagement ring. She looked herself in the mirror for what felt like the 30th time, fixing her flyaways before taking a step back to take in her entire appearance. Turning to the side, she smirked. "Still got it." It had felt like forever since the last time she had gone out and had a good time, but that didn't stop her from looking down at her phone every time it went off. Constantly remembering the work she was putting off... for a party. She took a deep breath, reached into her clutch and pulled out a baggie of blue pills, throwing two into her mouth and washing them down with some water, Lauren had given her after noticing how much Khepri was drinking before the party even started. Yes, she was aware that mixing alcohol with her Adderall wasn't the best idea but, she needed to work after this. She didn't plan on being at the party too long, only long enough to see her friends, please Lauren with her social skills, and sneak out the back to talk to Christopher and finish editing her article. She'd out in like two hours, easy. "Stop be an antisocial narcissist and come out here!" Lauren yelled through the door.

Most of the party went off without a hitch, she saw some old friends, danced with Lauren as she made sex eyes towards Soren as his band played even after telling Khepri how her plan went and slung her arms around Khepri's shoulders. She'd never admit but, he was talented. She swayed as Lauren spun her around just the band's set ended. "Okay! I will be back until then," Lauren kissed her on the cheek. "Try to get some dick or pussy, whatever your little bicon heart desires. I'll be back!" The black hair beauty winked before disappearing into the crowd before Pri could say a word. "I don't need pussy because I'm not a bicon." She scoffed and threw her hands up before turning around to make her way to the bar to pass time until Lauren came back as she definitely didn't plan on sleeping with anyone tonight especially since she shouldn't at least act like she's engaged.

Khepri past the time, talking to a woman who walked up to the bar, not really picking up on the flirting as she looked at the time and all of her notifications, she knew it was time to bow out. But, not before thanking Lauren for actually getting her out of her shell for a night even if it was against her will. She excused herself from the conversation and hurried off but not before the girl handed her a piece of paper. Khepri didn't even look at it before slipping it in her pocket and starting to look around for the host. She had seen her go into the hallway away from the party and started to push her way through, saying the occasional excuse me but, mostly just shuffling through. She peeked in her bedroom, nothing. She groaned before walking into the spare room, seeing Lauren bleeding and Soren kneeling by her. She couldn't even stop herself from letting out a blood-curdling scream as she leaned against the doorframe. She covered her mouth and started shaking as she held the wall for balance to help her toppling over. The room soon filled with people; screaming, crying, and being escorted out by others. It was as if Khepri wasn't even there, she was frozen to the world around her and she couldn't hear anything but muffled sobs. The rest of the group came in and she didn't even say a word, she just stood there, softly shaking. No tears, no sobs, just completely numb, letting out the occasional shaking breath. She didn't even move as Becca held onto Lauren before being moved by Lex and Nate grabbing Soren.

Khepri couldn't even explain why she had frozen up, she had seen battlefields, crime scenes, you name it and Khepri had seen it before in her career but, this. This hit differently, this wasn't some unnamed victim, this was Lauren. Someone she had just danced with an hour ago and now, she was just gone, like that. Through the muffled voices running through her head, she heard someone saying that the police was coming and saw flashes of red and blue fill the room. Most of the guests had left the room before being police made their way into the apartment but, Khepri at this point had slid to the ground clinging on for dear life to her position on the doorframe. Only letting go when two uniformed officers softly removed her and escorted her out of the room. When leaving, Khepri turned to see the body of her friend just as they covered her with a sheet. She gasped for air as if she was suffocating and finally let out a tear that made its way down her face. The officers sat her down near the others when she finally completely snapped back. "Ma'am, again, are you okay?" Khepri rapidly blinked before turning her eyes to the officers. "What? Yea--... Yea, I'm okay." She turned her eyes to the room around her. "You're in shock, stay here until we can check you out. You may have hit your head on your way down." She just nodded, not even making eye contact with them. Just finally taking in the sight of distraught party goers as the wheels in her head began to turn.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Arisa Winston Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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Rebecca Cruze
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outfit : herex|xhex: #D02090
xxxYoung hearts, out our minds
xxxRunnin' 'til we outta time
xxxWild child's, lookin' good
xxxLiving hard just like we should

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Rebecca had tunnel vision just focusing on Lauren as tears came down her face. She felt someone per her shoulder and say something to her but her attention was full on Lauren, hoping she would sit up, say something, or do anything. It wasn’t until someone separates her hand from Lauren she broke out of her trance. She looked up with watery eyes make up that was starting to get runny to see Alexander. He talked about not wanting her to get in trouble for touching Lauren and that it could point fingers at her, she nodded when he spoke about staying or heading out to get some fresh air and try to calm down until the cops arrive. Rebecca saw Erin ask Soren what happened, and then say she had to call someone and stepped out. Erin was probably calling the cops. Rebecca knew now that Lauren wasn’t coming back and that police will be coming to investigate everything. Becca was helped up by Lex and lead out of the room and towards the window for some fresh air. “Th-thank you Lex… sorry you have to see me like this.” She barely whispered out to him. “Just… Lauren. She’s dead and the last thing between us was an arguement, I feel like a terrible friend… who would do this to her…” she said as some more tears rolled her eyes.

The two head back in the hallway as the cops were called and waited. Rebecca day on the floor against the wall and had her arms wrapped around her legs as she leaned into Lex who was holding her and comforting her. She had finally stopped tearing up and crying and was mostly sniffling. She looked up at Lex for a second and gave a slight smile through her runny/ruined make up, she was happy to have someone there as she was freaking out. She might have seemed more calmed down than when she saw Lauren’s dead body laying there with Soren next to her, but internally she was still freaking out and not sure what to think. Who could’ve done this, and why? Rebecca thought to herself as she was leaning her head against Lex, him just rubbing her shoulder and saying she would be okay. While thinking all of this to herself, Rebecca had be scratching and pinching her arms as a reaction to her anxiety, nerves, and emotions taken over, it wasn’t until Lex said something that she stopped, but had already marked herself up a little.

The two sat there when the first wave of cops showed up and taped up the room, well now what was the crime scene. The cops had started questing some people but left Rebecca alone as she just continued to stare into the ground and Lex letting people know she was okay and needed a minute. But once the detectives got there she knew she would have to talk to them at some point. She lightly nudged Lex and signalled she wanted to stand up, and used him to stand up and try to get ahold of herself. Becca took a look around and saw Erin talking to Soren but couldn’t make out what they were saying, and then Erin came over to her and Lex asking if they were okay.

“Y-yeah. Just, Lauren… she’s…” Rebecca was able to get through her sniffles and recovering from crying, and not wanting to say it out loud, as if not saying it will make it not true. She heard Lex say something to Erin. She saw the two detectives come out of the room and the female went up to Nate and Soren and started asking them things. Rebecca looked back at Lex and Erin when the other detective came over to talk to the three of them, asking for some basic information, small statements. “Rebecca Wilde Cruze, 24. Friend of Lauren’s… really close friend.” She said before sniffly and tearing up a little thinking about her best friend from high school being dead. Lex and Erin gave their information while Rebecca just stared at the male detective, she felt like she knew him from somewhere but wasn’t sure. She was broken from her trance when he said asked for anything else. “Oh! Soren was in the room when I saw L-Lauren. I got emotional and started to freak out so I wasn’t sure what he was doing, sorry.” She said pausing for a second before stepping forward grabbing the detectives hand. “But Soren wouldn’t hurt Lauren. He’s not that type of guy.” She said before realizing what she did and backed up, back into Lex’s embrace. The detective thanked them and left, a little awkwardly so.

Rebecca looked over at Erin. “Ri-rght? He wouldn’t kill Lauren would he?” She asked before noticing Lex looking at Khepri. Lex quietly excused himself and asked if Rebecca would like to stay with him tonight, so she wouldn’t be alone. Becca gave a small smile and nodded before Lex walked away to check on Pri, and watched him walk away before Erin got her attention. She warned Rebecca and told her to be careful. “I’ll be fine… I just don’t want to spend the night alone. You know?” Rebecca said grabbing Erin’s hand it’s both of hers. “I promise.” She said before smiling and walking over to Pri and Lex, staying quiet to let them finish talking. “I’m ready to go when you are.” She whispered to Lex, taking his arm.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Arisa Winston Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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Erin Monahan
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outfit : herex|xhex: #80000
xxxForget the horror here
xxxForget the horror here
xxxLeave it all down here
xxxIt's future rust and it's future dust


Erin nodded as Soren simply just nodded in reply to her offer for coming back to her place after. It wouldn't be much, but it was all she could really offer anyone in the moment. They were all so broken and confused, and tired. None of them knew what had happened, or why. Why was it Lauren? Why did someone have the motive to kill her out of everyone there? What would have been so bad that someone had to take another's life? She knew Lauren, and as manipulative and toxic as she was at times, she didn't deserve this. No one deserved this. Before she left she gave Soren's shoulder a gentle squeeze and then turned and left for Rebecca and Alexander. She didn't know exactly what they had been saying due to everyone talking as quietly as they could, but she figured it was about what had just transpired. No matter how strong someone was, something like this, no one was ever prepared. Things had gone so well. Aside from the small argument between Soren and Lauren earlier, everything was fine, well, as fine as it could have been. She'd make sure to talk to Soren later about it, probably tomorrow when he was in a better mindset. "Are you guys okay...?" she asked, rather rhetorical in nature, but it was the only thing she could think of to say. All she knew was that they all needed someone, and she was trying her best to keep herself together. Erin gave a sorrowful look when Rebecca began to talk, her voice low and shallow, it was obvious that she had just been crying. From either the tear-stained make-up, to the reddened eyes. She sighed softly as she sat down next to them, gently rubbing Rebecca's back as the same man from earlier slowly walked up to them.

It was obvious from the way he dressed to the badge by his hip that he was no normal cop. Police usually dress in their police uniforms, not a suit and tie. She guessed the FEDS had been called in, but why? It's not like Lauren was any person of real importance, but maybe they were needed more so than the regular officers? She didn't know, all she knew was that she'd need to give her statement, and that was it. As she looked up at him as she was finally able to get a proper look at him, something seemed familiar, yet foreign. It was weird. She couldn't exactly put her finger on it, but she saw countless people every day. She figured she had just seen him in passing and thought nothing of it in the moment. "Erin Monahan. Twenty-five. Lauren was...A good friend...She hired me as the bartender for the night." she said as she looked down for a moment, and then looked back up, "You-You don't think I poisoned her, right? You can check all of the alcohol at the bar, nothing was messed with. Besides, I have my own bar...I don't think poisoning someone would be the best way to get business, right?" she said with an awkward chuckle as she tucked some loose hair behind her ear. She cleared her throat with a simple cough as she tried to relax, and not let her anxiety take over. She looked back up as Alexander gave his information and statement, and left the two of them to do whatever he was leaving for. She gave him an annoyed look and roll of her eyes before looking back at the detective. "Anything else? I don't really remember much. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary or hear anything. All I know is that uh, Khepri had been talking to her earlier, and that they danced. That was all that I remember under I heard people scream...I was also the one that called it in..If that helps any?" she questioned, her hands were sweaty and her heart was racing. The last thing she wanted to do was lie to a cop, but she wasn't completely lying. She didn't need to tell him that she had passed out in the bathroom, and didn't remember some things in that time-frame, not like it mattered much/

The detective thanked her for their time and their statements and quickly walked away after taking some notes. He didn't say much aside from the normal routine questions, obvious that he was rather new. Erin looked back at Rebecca when they were finally alone, and offered her if she needed a place to stay, but slightly frowned when she explained that she'd be going home with Alex. She rolled her eyes, of course, he would have offered. He had a crush on Rebecca since day one, and he wasn't very subtle about it. Not like she was one to talk exactly. She simply nodded as she spoke, "Just...be careful, alright? I can't afford to lose someone else tonight..." she said as she gave Rebecca a small smile, but her eyes portrayed something else. Worry, concern, and a bit of sadness at the news of going back with someone else. But if anything happened, Erin would have a reason to lose her shit at Alex finally. She simply just gave Rebecca's hand a gentle squeeze, but not before slipping a small paper into her hand after Rebecca had clasped her hand between her's. She figured Rebecca would look at the paper later, it was simply just her phone number and a small reminder to call/text her when she wanted to talk next time. Erin silently watched as Rebecca stood up and returned to Alex and Khepri, letting them know she was ready when they were to leave. A small tinge of annoyance and possibly even jealousy slithered its way into her head as she found herself clenching her jaw in an annoyed manner. She simply just sighed and stood up and walked back over to Soren, seeing how he had also given his statement, as well as Nathan. They had been talking to the female officer that came in with the male that had asked her and the others a few questions. Erin waited for them to finish their statements, giving the blonde-haired woman a small smile and nod as she thanked them for their time and gave another small bow and apology for what had happened before she left.

Erin looked at Soren and Nathan as they sat there and gave them a small and reassuring smile, "Alright, you sad saps. Soren, you said you're coming back with me, Nate, you in or did you already decide on going with someone else? You know my offer always stands." she gave him a small smile and ruffled his hair before she helped Soren to his feet. She grabbed her jacket and put it on, feeling the pack and lighter in her pockets, she'd wait until she got outside of the complex to have another one. She needed something to calm her nerves, and if smoking didn't do it, possibly drinking until she passed out sounded like a good plan. And that would most likely be how she ended up dealing with it when they got back to her place. "Let's get the fuck out of here, shall we?" she asked as she turned and left with Soren and whoever else decided to head out with her. But before they left, she stopped by Alex, Khepri, and Rebecca. She gave them all a small nod as they passed by, "You guys know where to find us. I'll see some of you tomorrow...Hopefully." she said with another nod of her head and then proceeded to leave. That apartment was too stuffy and she needed to escape from that place. When they finally reached the bottom floor and walked out of those glass frame doors, she immediately dug into her pocket, retrieving her pack of cigarettes and lighter. Immediately, she put one between her lips as she lit it and took a very long and slow drag before she gave out a slow puff of smoke into the crisp night air. There were few things that helped her calm down, and sadly, as bad of a habit as this was, it was one of her most relied upon remedies. "Don't judge me...I've been cutting back...Sort of. Anyway, to the bar or back to the apartment? Either way, some of the good shit and drinks await us." she said as they continued down those same damn city streets that they once walked down together. Once happy and full of life and mistakes, and bad decisions. Now..Now they walked these streets with nothing but regret and brokeness...Hoping tomorrow would be a better day. That's all Erin could do, was hope. Hope that this was either all some sort of sick joke, or was all just some nightmare.








Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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ALEXANDER YANG
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Ethical Hacker | Outfit | Hex: #4E3475
There is only one way to avoid criticism:
do nothing, say nothing, be nothing...

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Alexander was quietly thinking about the various things he could do in order to address the predicament Lauren's death had caused himself and the rest of the group who had gathered tonight. Lauren was guaranteed to cause drama whenever the group was together but this was something completely different from the usual, she wouldn't be here to enjoy the chaos. Sighing to himself Lex couldn't help but think Lauren is somehow a little delighted at the trouble she was causing all of them. A wistful smile began to form on his face thinking about her.

While sitting down in the hallway Lex continued to comfort Rebecca, knowing just how hurt she was after losing her best friend. He wanted to remove the pain she was feeling but he knew how much work he would have to burden himself in order to accomplish it. His secretary was already accumulating whatever they could, working with experts at Lex's company, in order to uncover what exactly happened tonight and depending on what they discover, to act accordingly. If the answer was simple enough then that would be the end of it but Lex had a feeling that whatever went down tonight was far from simple.

A number of guests had asked about his and Becca's condition. While exchanging pleasantries and noting that him and Becca were fine he noticed Erin walking towards them. Becca had nudged him to stand up, complying Lex stood up while supporting Becca making sure that she was fine. When Erin had asked them if they were okay Lex smiled slightly before looking towards her and saying, "Things could be better... Lauren always knew how liven up a party..." Lex tried to alleviate their situation with levity but he knew that nothing could really be said at this moment to ease any of their minds.

Becca was having a hard time speaking about Lauren, fumbling with her words as she was overcome with emotions. Lex would stroke her shoulder whenever she seemed to struggle, hoping that his actions were of some help to her. Looking up he saw the look in Erin's eyes which he found oddly sorrowful. It wasn't out of the question for her to have that expression, since Lauren just murdered, but there was something different there, something familiar to Lex, longing.

Not long afterwards a police officer has walked over to take their statements. Lex patiently waited as Becca and Erin gave their accounts. He noted everything they said into his mind, both Becca and Erin's accounts. Erin saying that she hadn't poisoned Lauren made Lex mentally facepalm, wondering why she would say something so unnecessary, especially while giving their official statement. When she implied the possibility of Khepri having something to do with Lauren's death, Lex couldn't help but stare daggers towards her.

When it was Lex's time to make his statement he calmed himself totally, as if he was completely removed from the situation. Turning towards the officer he said, "Name, Alexander Yang, legally documented as Yang Guowang. Age, 26. Relationship to the deceased... friend." After noting the essentials he then continued describing his account of what he had seen happen at the party, saying, "When I had arrived I had introduced myself to the hostess, Lauren, we had exchanged pleasantries before separating. During the band's performance I was in the crowd, drinking and exchanging small talk. Afterwards I went outside onto the balcony to have a cigarette, where I met Lauren again and we conversed about the party. I spent the remainder of the time talking to others in the crowd before getting a drink at the bar and hearing someone scream. When I had heard Rebecca I went towards the scene and had seen the my friend Lauren laying in a pool of blood. That's my account of the events of tonight."

Lex had left somethings out of his account: the fact that Erin had not been at the bar when the murder may have taken place, what exactly him and Lauren had talked about. Becca than talked about seeing Soren being in the room with Lauren, before shortly saying she doubted that Sor had killed Lauren, a belief they both shared. Lex and Sor's relationship hadn't been great after what had happened when the group split up years ago but he didn't believe that Sor would've murdered Lauren.

"If you need to reach me about anything concerning this case you should be able to get either in touch with me or my secretary by calling this number." Lex had given his business card to the officer after he said that. Continuing, Lex said, "I would like to extend my and my companies capabilities to assist in this investigation. As Lauren's friends we would like to find out what had happened to her... and a number of us no longer live in the country. If we will be kept from traveling out of the city it would inconvenience a lot of us, so the sooner everything is sorted out the better." The officer received the business card before walking away from them.

He heard Becca asking about whether or not Sor had murdered Lauren, before noticing Khepri. "I doubt it but until this investigation is completed... anything is possible." He turned towards Becca and said, "Your welcome to stay at my place during the investigation. I doubt that any of us will be able to leave the country before our names are cleared..." Lex smiled a little mischievously before saying, "My place is better than most hotels you'll find around here... and the room service will be exceedingly better."

Lex patted Becca on the shoulder before he turned and walked towards Khepri, saying, "Excuse me, I have something to talk to Pri about. We can do whatever you like once you've come to a decision." While walked towards Pri, Lex received a message from his secretary Tina, stating that they had gotten almost everything they could. He returned a message thanking them for their work, promising them a bonus once they obtain everything, before telling them his friend Pri would contact them soon.

Once Lex was in front of Pri he asked her, "Are you alright? You look a little shaken up." Lex listened to her response with concern visible on his face. "You need to take care of yourself... we don't need anyone else leaving us soon, especially you... We're gonna need your skills in order to get to the bottom of this, right Miss Journalist." Lex tried to keep things light but he needed to address everything he needed to, before any law enforcement overheard them. Lex slipped Pri a number before saying, "This is my secretaries number, her name is Tina. Tell her Wang sent you and she'll send you what information we had gathered about what went down tonight. I'm not going to force you into anything but... I think you and I both know we need to figure this out. Besides, breaking something like this would be great for work, right?"

Lex listened to everything Pri said before he said, "All of my resources will be available to you, you just need to say the word." He then walked up and gave Pri a hug, holding her close to him. "I don't want to lose you." Lex was about to offer Pri to stay at his place but when he thought of Becca possibly going with him tonight he was at odds with himself. He wanted to support Pri but this was one of the few chances Lex had to become closer to Becca. "I would offer my place tonight but... Becca's probably going to spend the night and I... You know how I feel about her, right? I hope you understand... After tonight you can come over, I just want to have one night."

He knew Pri was a strong and highly capable person, he saw a lot of himself in her. Lex believed that Pri would be fine but after what happened with Lauren he wasn't quite sure where she was mentally. Concerned but being driven by his desires, Lex chose Becca. Bidding Pri a goodnight he walked back towards Becca, seeing her talking with Erin. When he heard her say that she would be leaving with him, he couldn't help but genuinely smile.

Looking around the room Lex grabbed a nearby bottle of whiskey, pouring himself a drink before offering ones to both Erin and Becca. "My driver should be downstairs, we can leave now." Lex downed the remainder of his drink before he offered his hand towards Becca, holding it as they traveled down to their ride bellow. The driver was waiting outside for them, opening the door for them as they entered the limousine. When they had entered the vehicle a small gasp escaped Lex's mouth, he felt like he could finally relax after leaving that apartment. As the driver started to drive towards Lex's penthouse apartment Lex turned towards Becca and asked, "Is there anything I can do for you?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Arisa Winston Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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N a t h a n Miller
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outfit - #D6CF13
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Everything- and everyone- was just a blur of emotions, movement, noise. If you closed your eyes, you could almost imagine it was just the natural end to a party, with people lazily making their exit. Nate almost wished he could convince himself of that. There was a natural unease that came with close proximity to the dead, and an unease of law enforcement that came from experience. Nathan was uncomfortable, and he wanted to leave, but he had to stick around to give statements, and whatever else might be needed. He silently cursed himself for not leaving sooner, if he would have left when he first wanted to, instead of trying to look for his friends, he wouldn't be stuck in a suddenly stuffy apartment with a mixture of emotionally distraught and emotionally distant people. There really wasn't a more uncomfortable combination.

He always tried his best to stay out of his friend's drama (for better or worse, really), but he couldn't help but overhear pieces of conversations, and parts of the statements being taken around him. Lauren had changed everything forever. Again. While this wasn’t her fault, because Nate highly doubted she’d sat down and asked to be killed, he couldn’t help but feel a little annoyance towards her. Of course; when things weren’t going the way she wanted, she was murdered. Now nobody would be able to stop thinking, or talking, about her. It was unfair, and Nathan knew it, so he tried to shake the thoughts from his head. No matter how he’d disliked her, he didn’t want to continue to be bitter through her death, and he certainly didn’t want to blame her for her own death. Still, it was an inconvenience.

When it was time for him to give his statement, he did so with a heavy sigh and a shrug. “I’m, uh-” He licked his lips. The questions were easy enough, but he wasn't sure of how to answer them. “Nathan Miller. Twenty-six. I was,” He paused briefly, trying to collect his thoughts. What was he to Lauren? They weren’t friends. Not anymore. He didn’t seem to acknowledge the grief rising in his throat, even if it was, in that moment, evident on his face. He cleared his throat to continue, “We were… We were friends. Well, we used to be friends. It’s a long story: we were friends in, like, high school. We got along pretty well back then, but as time went on, we both changed and, well, I haven’t really spoken to her at all in… a few years, and then she invited me to this party, and I almost didn’t even come.” He shrugged, “Anyway, I was just trying to enjoy the party, and it was nice. Live band, lots of friendly people, some old friends I haven’t seen in ages, but the whole thing was a little too... “ He made a sort of vague circular gesture with his hands, “It was just a little bit classier than I guess I’m used to. But, um, I was just getting ready to leave when I heard the commotion. Was trying to track down a few friends to say goodbye to, and I sort of just walked into…” He exhaled forcefully, shaking his head almost as a way to signify that he still wasn’t sure how to process the events of the night, “A real mess, honestly.”

Nathan realized, a bit too late, that he’d probably given much more information than anyone needed, or even wanted. He nodded when Erin told him he was welcome at her place, then he sighed, “I don’t,” He interrupted himself, shrugging, “I’ll be fine. Thanks, though.” He didn’t want to tell the truth- that he didn’t think he could handle Soren right now, nor did he particularly want to. It was going to be a hell of night with those two, and all Nathan really wanted to do was go home and get some sleep. Maybe he could make sense of what had happened in the morning. Besides, none of them needed him, they all had someone to look after them, and even if they didn’t, he was pretty sure he wasn’t anyone’s first choice to of emotional support. Or, he thought so, until he saw Lex leaving with Rebecca. He sighed, silently cursing Alexander isn't he supposed to be her best friend? and walked to Khepri’s side.

“Hey,” He said, words as gentle as the hand he placed on her shoulder, “Where are you staying?” He smiled, gently, “You’ve had a rough night, I just want to make sure you get back okay.” Then, almost as a defense he held his hands up in front of his chest, as if already conceding defeat, “I know you don’t need my help, but it would make me feel better, you know.” He didn’t know what to expect from Khepri, honestly. She was normally the one trying to insist on helping him, a point that had caused just a small amount of contention between the two of them. Still, Nate had always considered Pri a friend, and she had always only been trying to help. While he knew she would probably be just fine on her own, Nate felt that she shouldn’t be going through all of this alone.

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Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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"Khepri Mahajan, twenty six. Lauren was one of close friends and colleagues. She cleared the lump in her throat as she felt her hands start to shake. The officers asked her about the night, telling them how they knew she was with her a lot throughout the evening and this made the lump plummet to her stomach. All of a sudden she felt like she was going to be sick as if this one tidbit of information somehow made her suspect number one. "I mean, I guess I was around a lot. I helped her set up earlier for everything, we talked, we danced, which isn't a crime, and then she excused herself and disappeared. I didn't see her after that." They asked how long Lauren was gone.

"Maybe, half an hour? forty-five minutes?" The officers asked her if she was concerned about her friend's presence during this time. Khepri shrugged, not letting the now blaring voices of anxiety show. "Not really. It's her party, she has tons of guests and I just assumed she was... occupied or something." They asked her one last question about where she was when they discovered the body. She took a deep and shaky breath but clearing her throat once again. "I was right there... I, um, walked in, looking for her. Saw Soren, her ex, by her. I looked down and saw... blood and then I screamed and then I froze." She looked down as if she was ashamed of her reaction before returning her eyes to the detectives. "I don't remember anything after that, I don't even remember being moved here." She didn't even remember what was said after that, she zoned out thinking about all the potentially bad moves she made that night or the things that could make her seem more suspicious if they came out. She only caught the last bit of the detective's little speel where they told her if she found any information to call them and, of course, told her how this should stay out of the public eye until they concluded the case, ahhhhh. So they had known who she was and they knew what she did, which made this all the more complicated. But, she hid it as she grabbed their card with a scoff. "Right, well, I'd hate to break it to you but, it's my job."

She put the card in her purse before continuing. "Yea, so, if you have an issue with it. You can take it up with my producers, my editors, the station, the paper, and, oh, my lawyers. Not me. Have a great night, officers." She offered a fake, but bright smile as they walked about before letting it fall and softly cursing as she covered her face with her hands. She moved her hands so she could look down at them she fidgeted with the ring on her finger. As she did so, again, the world around her started to tune out and the wheels went back into motion and she replayed the night's events in her head. She had been around Lauren the most, at least from what she knew. They danced, caught up, bitched about the men in their lives (with Khepri keeping a few things out of the conversation) and of course, God for-fucking-bid, Khepri Mahajan let her guard down and try to relax for a change. This is what happens and now, this was her punishment for trying to go with the flow for once, being probably marked as a 'person of interest' in the murder case of her friend, great. Just great. And why? All because she didn't really know who she could and couldn't go up to at this party. She hadn't really left on the best of terms with some of the guests before leaving the country. She hadn't seen Lex all night, Becca was busying roaming around, socializing and Khepri didn't need a repeat of the last time they were together with copious amounts of alcohol in their systems. With the two of them out of the equation. What was she supposed to do? Sit in a corner like some wallflower or better yet sit down for a drink with Erin and Soren to reminisce about all the great times they had?

And just like that, Khepri started to do what her forced therapist has said she does a lot of; she started to spiral. Her breathing started to quicken as if she was stuck inside a plastic bag but quiet enough where no one around her thought anything was wrong. She could feel everything she's worked for, everything she planned, everything she's ever dreamed of just slipping away: her career, her credibility, all of it gone because someone had seen her spending, apparently, too much time with the victim. The only thing that snapped her out of her snowball moment was Lex, thank God.

"W-... Yea, yea, I'm fine. I'm... just thinking."

"Thinking of all the ways I could have flushed $200,000 down the goddamn toilet as opposed using it on my, now, soon to useless journalism degree from Princeton. She cleared throat as she tried to reassure him with a smile that she was okay. She didn't know if it'd work, Lex could read her like a book. "You need to take care of yourself... we don't need anyone else leaving us soon, especially you..." She scoffed as she shook her head. Everyone was acting like she was about to dive headfirst off the building, she was upset but, she wasn't fragile. "We're gonna need your skills in order to get to the bottom of this, right Miss Journalist." She chuckled before nodding. Her eyes connected with Lex's hand as it reached towards her, as to not make it suspicious to the officers around them, she held his hand for a minute and cast a small smile. To anyone else they just looked like friends with one trying to comfort the other when in actuality, she realized he was handing her a small piece of paper. She didn't know what was on it but, whatever it was she knew it was important. She and Lex didn't need secrecy useless it was for a purpose. She tried the limit how much her hand was shaking as she squeezed before letting going moving the paper into her trench coat pocket. As Lex went on, Khepri was taking in every word and when he said: "Besides, breaking something like this would be great for work, right?" For the first time, her eyes locked with his as her rational thinking (or obsession with compartmentalizing, you decide) starting to slowly return. This was what she needed; a distraction to take her mind off the anxiety and guilt racing through her head or at least something that allowed her to shove it right back down to deal with at a later time. "A great for the reporter and company who did it." She took a deep, shaky breath as she shook her head. "You don't have to force me to do anything. I got it." She forced a small smile before he pulled her into his arms. She took a deep breath and tried to control how much her body was shaking. She rested her head in the crook of her neck, just trying to hold on to the one piece of stable ground she had in her life right now. "I don't want to lose you." She took a deep, shaky breath and quickly wiped away the few tears trying to escape down her cheeks. She shook her head as tightened her arms around him.

"I'm not going anywhere." She moved to look him in the eyes with a smirk. "Besides, I have a new story to start." She chuckled softly before he started to explain why she couldn't come over, which she didn't assume he'd say she could but, she'd be lying if she said she didn't expect it. Anytime something happened to either of them, the other stayed by their side until they were okay. And just the way he said, that he just needed one night. As if she was constantly pestering him to be her support animal. But, it's fine. He wanted one night to get the girl and she understood it. She did know how he felt for Becca and if he felt like this was his moment then he should go for it. Even if it meant leaving the girl who was like a second sister to him in the dust for the time being. However, she'd bitch about it tomorrow to Chris but, for now, she just hid it behind a coy smirk as she laid her hands on his shoulders. "No, I totally get it." She moved her hands to his jaw with an evergrowing smirk and a wink. "Go get her."

She let him turn before grabbing his arm to turn him back around to face her as she pointed a finger towards him. "And enjoy it because tomorrow we have work to do, Yang. Now go, I'll call you in the morning." She told him goodnight and watched as he left with Becca, who she gave a small and kind of awkward wave before they disappeared out of sight when she sat back down. She ran her fingers through her hair as she took yet another deep breath. "Fuck." She placed her elbows on her knees as she rubbed her face and tried to think about what to do now. She could call her fiancee, tell him everything that happened but, she didn't need him worrying and she definitely didn't need him thinking he had to fly in just to be by her side through this. She was fine, everything was fine, everything was just... complicated right now. And then, the snowballing continued as those tiny little voices started to tell her everything that was going to go wrong; she'd lose her job, her friends, she'd fall out of her family's good graces, she'd go to jail, any possible worst-case scenario was going through her head and she had no one to help her stop it.

That was until Nate Miller, of a people, came up and put his hand on her shoulder. "Hey," She looked at him with a smile. "Hey." As he inquired where she was staying, she shrugged. "Probably my hotel room, I don't really have anywhere else to go." She let out a small joyless chuckle. Unbelievable, the friend she hadn't seen in a while was the one worrying about her. But, she appreciated it even if it was unexpected. "I know you don’t need my help, but it would make me feel better, you know.” She scoffed as she looked offended, in a joking way. "No fair."

She jokingly swatted his hand away as she got up and pointed a finger in his chest. "I'm supposed to worry about you but, yea, I get it and I... kind of really appreciate it." She tightened her coat before letting her eyes linger on the floor before looking back at Nate. "Besides, it might nice to walk it off, get fresh air, and talk about... all of this. If you don't mind." Plus it'd keep the negative thoughts at bay even if it was just for a little bit until she was able to get home and take whatever she needed to get to work. She put her hands in her pocket as she started her way towards the exit with Nate in tow.

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Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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Rebecca Cruze
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outfit : herex|xhex: #D02090
xxxYoung hearts, out our minds
xxxRunnin' 'til we outta time
xxxWild child's, lookin' good
xxxLiving hard just like we should

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Rebecca stuck the paper from Erin into her bra and gave a slight wave to Khepri as Lex led the two of them outside to her surprise an actual limousine. “Wow.” Rebecca said under her breathe as she climbed in, Lex following her. She finally took him up on his offer of the whiskey and poured herself a half glass full and quickly drinking in an attempt to calm herself down. “I don’t know…” she muttered looking out the vehicles windows as they drove down the roads to wherever Alexander’s place was. “Just, be here for me, I guess.” Becca said forcing a smile out to Lex.

It wasn’t long until the limousine stopped in front of what seemed like a luxury apartment building. Becca was a little impressed by how the lobby looked and stayed close to Lex as they walked in and into the elevator, holding onto Lex’s arm as he swiped a card in the elevator and clicked on the top floor. The penthouse. When the elevator’s opened Rebecca as shocked by how nice the place was. She slowly stepped in and let go of her purse as it fell on the ground, she looked around surprised by the whole place. [color=#D0209]0“Wow… I never knew you lived like this… like I knew you had money and such but wow.”[/color] She said as she walked around more and admired the place, just about turning/spinning as she walked to get a look at everything.

The apartment was huge compared to Rebecca’s place back in London. The luxurious kitchen that had its own island and bar, the stunning glass window wall that led out to a terrace with a pool and hot tub, also what looked like access to Lex’s own gym. As Becca reached the center of the room she assumed that upstairs was all the living arrangements, though not sure exactly how many bedrooms he had. She turned around when Lex spoke about money not being an issue and quickly walked over to him seeing his open gesture to take her coat. She let him take it off of her, and turned around back to face him.

“Lex, do you have anything more comfortable for me to wear? Kind of want to get out of this dress. I’m going to wash my face, I probably look terrible with crying with this make up on.” Rebecca asked and then walked into the bathroom to wash her face as Lex said he could find something and headed upstairs. By the time she was done washing her face Lex was back down stairs and the two met by the kitchen island, and he and handed her a dress shirt. Since he was taller than her it would work for now around his apartment.Rebecca thanked him and started taking off her jewelry and heels, placing them on one of the bar seats. “Hope you don’t mind.” She said as she took off her dress in the open. This revealed her numerous tattoos that she has gotten over the years, as well as her matching black underwear.

Rebecca took a seat at the bar and started buttoning up the shirt before looking over at Lex. “Do you think any of our friends would’ve done this?” She asked as she watched him get some drinks out of the cupboard and start mixing. He quickly handed her a familiar looking drink, as she took a sip she knew he had attempted to make her favorite drink, not as perfected as Erin’s, but she was a bartender and it still tasted good. She listened as Lex explained his thoughts, the last part peaking her interest. “First off, this tastes great, didn’t know you knew what I liked And what you mean? You’re going to try to find out who did it?” She asked, quickly downing her drink and putting her elbows on the counter and staring at Lex as he talked.

Rebecca took his hand as he looked into her eyes. “Well… I wanna help. Not sure how, but I want to.” Rebecca said nodding to Lex, she took a glance at the clock he had on the wall. [color=#D02090]“I think we should head to bed. I’m assuming upstairs?” She said as she stood up and quickly started heading up the stairs. She tripped on the second step, partly to her not paying attention and a little bit due to her tipsiness over the night. Lex helped her up. “I’m fine, just hit my knee. And Lex… do you mind if I sleep with you? Don’t really want to be alone…” she asked softly as they walked up the stairs.

As they got settled into bed Rebecca took off her bra from under the buttoned shirt and turned ti face. “Thank you, really missed you over the years. Glad to see you’re successful with everything.” Rebecca leaned in and gave him a kiss, holding for a couple seconds before laying down. She subconsciously snuggled close to Lex and quickly fell asleep. Rebecca actually felt safe.


Rebecca slowly woke up and found the paper Erin handed her and sent a message along with a picture of herself sitting on the edge of the bed to show that she was alive and okay. She then got up to find Lex, just following the smell of breakfast. When’s she reached the staircase she looked down and saw him. Shirtless, making food. Becca stared for a second before finally saying something. “You know, cooking shirtless is dangerous.” She headed down stairs looking at the island and all the variety of food Lex had set our. “Wow, this is amazing. Feel like a princess to wake up to all of this.” She quickly made a plate with a little bit of everything that Lex has made and started to eat.

While Lex continued to cook Rebecca noticed his phone buzz and out of curiosity noticed some talk about murder and crime, but not much from trying to read the small print upside down. “Lex.. what’s this about?” She asked pointing at his phone. She listened to his explanation. “Well? What do you know? Who did it?” Rebecca asked. She put on a pouty face with sticking out her bottom lip when Lex told her he couldn’t tell her. Either he didn’t want to or didn’t know, still both wouldn’t matter.

After finishing the meal that Lex has prepared for her Rebecca saw the time on the largeanalog clock Lex had up on the wall. “I have to head back to the hotel, need to gather some things and let my work know what’s going on.” Rebecca said as she slid her phone to Lex. [color=#D02090“Incase I want to message you…” she said with a smile as she got up and gathered her things and changed back into her dress. “Thanks again Lex, I’ll probably be back.” Becca said kissing him on the cheek before leaving.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Arisa Winston Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #575772
xxxremember the words you told me
xxxlove me till the day i die
xxxsurrender my everything cause
xxxyou made me believe you're mine

Soren couldn’t remember most of what he and Erin got up to that night. In fact, the couldn’t remember much after the shot, and had no memory of their conversation about missing each other. But given the state they woke up in, and the stinging of a new tattoo on his right wrist told him that he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to remember.

He couldn’t quite remember what came first- the text about the memorial service or the police interview. Everything felt like a dream; except for the moments when everything suddenly felt like it was going to crush him, like he was drowning in the air around him. He’d been going to Erin’s when he couldn’t bear to be alone or when he needed to drown his sorrows, but she didn’t know about the panic attacks. They only came when he was alone. And besides, she was finding it hard too. She didn’t need him to worry about too. But both of those incidents had brought on an attack, one that had left him sobbing alone in his apartment. He’d agreed to attend the memorial service. And when Lauren’s parents had asked him to read one of her favourite poems, he didn’t have it in him to say no. As far as they knew, they’d broken up on relatively okay terms, and he wasn’t going to break it to them now.

The police interview had gone about as well as could be expected. He’d been honest, but they didn’t seem too convinced. But they didn’t have anything concrete, so they’d just warned him to stick around in case they needed to ask any more questions. The band didn’t have any commitments for a few weeks because they needed a break after their Europe tour. He was assured he had management on his side, but he wondered how long that would last.

He’d arrived to the hotel early to help Lauren’s parents get set up. It was Lauren’s favourite hotel in NYC, and they had some drinks and canapés out for people to graze on as they arrived. He’d had to escape to the bathroom for a breather twice already, and he’d only been here forty minutes. He’d spent the past ten minutes avoiding conversation and trying to steel himself for small talk. The reminder on his wrist wasn’t doing all that much to help. He had a vague memory of just yelling “I want an MCR tattoo” at Erin when he really dwelt on it, which explained the three short words. “We’ll Carry On.” It felt oddly poignant, all things considered. He tugged at his sleeve, his new nervous habit since he couldn’t bite his nails any more, because it was painful to do so and he kept drawing blood. He couldn’t ignore the guests anymore. He picked up a glass of something and took a deep breath.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Arisa Winston Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Ashleigh Myerson
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N a t h a n Miller
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outfit - #D6CF13
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The days between the party and the funeral blurred together in Nate's mind. There was always something to do, always seemed to be someone who needed him (he would always be there for his friends, of course, all they had to do was ask), and he had- for some reason- offered to pick up the some of the slack at the bar for Erin. Once things calmed down, he would have to ask her to never let him take on any extra responsibilities again. He felt overwhelmingly stressed, and desperately wished for his life to return to some sort of normal. His police interview had gone fine, he thought, but the whole thing made him nervous. He didn't have much faith in the police: his experiences were of them not believing him, and ignoring most of what he said. He didn't care about not being able to go far: he'd never left the city, anyway.

When he got the text about the funeral, he had honestly considered blowing it off. He and Lauren hadn't been close enough to be considered friends in a couple of years, and he knew it would feel strange to be there. He'd feel like someone showing up, pretending to be upset over something that, had he not been there the night she died, wouldn't have bothered him enough to take more than a moment out of his day. Your friends will need you there. He told himself, knowing that should have been enough to get him to agree to go without hesitation. He wondered, though, how much they really needed him. Every last one of them seemed to be doing just fine, and he felt like he was stuck in the past.

He knew he needed to go, though, and he even dressed up as much as he could. There was no way he was wearing a tie, or even a collared shirt (not that he even owned one), but he did his best to be appropriately dressed for the occasion. Everyone might have even been impressed, had he showed up on time.

But there he was, notification on his phone, barely readable through the cracked screen, Lauren's funeral starting in now. He was still a few minutes away. He started walking a little faster, and tried to take in his appearance as he did so. He had dirt all over his clothes, and a brand new rip in his pants, right on the left knee. He sighed, angrily, having really wishing his day had gone more like he'd planned it. He stopped, right outside the hotel, and tried to brush himself off; clean up a little. But he felt like he'd only made it worse. He caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the doors: his hair was a mess, he was sweaty, he looked like he'd gotten in a fight.

He tried to sneak in quietly, as he could hear that the service was begging, but he felt eyes on him as he slipped into the back row. He quickly found a seat and slouched down, as if trying to appear small. He tried to avoid making eye contact with anyone and briefly wondered if it would have been better if he hadn't come at all.

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Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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The week following the... incident had been a blur. She felt like she hadn't even closed her eyes in days and she couldn't. She and Lex were trying to figure out everything they could and with their seemingly unlimited resources it wasn't that had for her to start forming her own theories and with the pool of blood Lauren was found in it ruled out a couple of ideas she heard from the public: poisoning wouldn't have left a bloody trail that quick, gunshots would have been heard by someone in the apartment even with a silencer, she didn't kill herself because of the way her body was found. Which only left two real options: blunt force trauma, maybe from on the many instruments left in the spare room or maybe, maybe strangulation, or a mix of both. And these theories were easy to make when you were able to make... 'contribution' to the coroner's office and a little extra to make sure that everything stayed confidential, for lack of a better word. But even that didn't get her a look at the body, only a look at the still-unreleased report which found 'strange' markings around her neck (whatever that meant) but it didn't specify what they were: maybe they were just from her necklace, or some kinky sex she was into now, Pri didn't know. And finding a positive cause of death without seeing the body would make her job impossible. Plus, she needed a who. Who could have something to gain with Lauren being out of the picture and, of course, her suspicions stated with Soren. No matter how cliche it was to assume the ex did it. That was the outcome most of the time and even though it made her stomach turn, she couldn't rule him out.

And when she wasn't being kind of sketchy with her morals or questioning the innocence of old hookups, she was with Nate, trying to get her mind off of everything or Lex, trying to figure it all out. But, as much as she wanted to, going to Lex to sit down and talk about all of this or even just staying the night like she usually did when she was in one of her pits, wasn't an option. At least not right now. Lex was her best friend, they loved each other, and he knew everything about her, and that was the problem. When they weren't working on the case, they'd be trying to take their minds off of it which led to him asking if she wanted to stay the night. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't. For the past week, she's made excuses that she had a story to finish or she had to talk to Chris about the wedding that was looming over them just so she could get back to her room. Alone. He might have not believed her but, she didn't need him to. She just needed an excuse to be alone or around someone who wasn't her best friend. All because of one reason: He knew her too damn well, unlike Nate who'd she call to keep her company through the night, Lex knew the signs of her going on one of her 'trips', where she'd go weeks without any actual sleep and food because she got so engulfed in something that nothing else mattered. He knew the warning signs and she didn't need him worrying about her. What he needed to worry about was finding out what happened to Lauren and who did it. She'd come clean about everything later; her 'dependency' coming back, her overuse of them for five months, she'd tell him everything. Later.

It still hadn't fully sunk in what was happening today. She felt as if it was all a dream that she could wake up from. She was finishing up everything when her phone started to vibrate. "Khepri Mahajan." Khepri tapped the speaker button on her phone as she was focused on putting in a pair of earrings, only half paying attention to the phone. "Hi Ms. Mahajan, I know you said you didn't want to be bothered with phone calls today, but, um Richard Marlow has been trying to get ahold of you. Something about, getting your hat back into the ring." Ugh, Richard fucking Marlow. He was just another one of the self-serving, egotistical, utterly intolerable, and privileged straight male reporters in New York that she had to deal with. Sure, he never meant to come off like that but, he did but, she had to give him credit. He was trying his hardest to get Khepri off of the paper and back into the limelight even if it was just statewide station. At this rate, anything was better than sitting in the Times another day. "Put him through."

"Khepri Mahajan, when I tell you what I did, you're gonna fuckin' marry me." Pri scoffed. "I swear! You are gonna leave your little British man and just jump into my arms. C'mon, asked me what I did." Okay, she'd bite. She took a deep breath and rolled her eyes as she secured her earrings. "Okay, Rick, I'll play along. What'd you do?" She leaned against her marble counter. "I just got you clearance and total control on this case for the station." She nearly dropped her glass in the sink before reaching for her phone and putting it to her ear. "Rick, I swear if you're messing with me---..." The man chuckled on the other end before cutting her off. "Relax, gorgeous. I'm not messing with you. I'm serious. The station looked over your stuff and they like what they see," Khepri had to stop herself from squealing like a teenage girl. "Sure it's a little more... local than you're used to but, you deserve better than so bullshit guest anchor slot on the Morning Show and it gets you outta that shitty New York Times cubical of yours and back where you belong. Because that face is too beautiful to be hidden behind some newspaper. So, what do you say?" Annoying comment about her looks aside, she felt like she could kiss him. "Are you fucking kidding?! Rick, you amazing little prick! When do I start? When am I on?" Rick chuckled again. "Attagirl, I knew you'd love me. So, we want our new hard hitter, that's you, darling, going up against our biggest competition in the morning. Y'know, scare em a bit and show them who the real big dogs are. You'll do mostly breaking news, on-site correspondence, your specialty, of course, but they really want you on this story from the East Side, some murder case, it happened like a week ago. A socialite type or something. Name's like Lana? Laurie?--..."

"Lauren Clark?" She heard the man snap his fingers. "That's it! See, you're already bounds ahead of me." Oh. That might be a tiny issue. This... This could be bad, messy, complicated, and another way she could end up pissing off all of her old friends which was not ideal. Not to mention, she might have been too close to the story to do it justice. But, no one knew she was there. Her name wasn't in any reports and if they were, they weren't now. Not after Khepri made sure of it i.e calling in one of the many favors the NYPD captain owed her. Either way, she didn't have a choice. Wha was she supposed to do? Say no? Stay in New York forever until her station back in Europe stopped being annoying and let her come back? They told her nine months minimum before they even thought about it. And do you know how long Khepri has been in New York? Six goddamn agonizing months. Those alone made her want to crawl in a hole and die. The thought of staying up for days on end just to sit in her small cubical of space at the Times or her bedroom writing bullshit articles for some newspaper. Which was an, honestly, archaic form of media that should have died out years ago.

And she couldn't take it anymore. This is exactly what she needed, her producers were in close contact with her physical and mental therapist and both said she was well enough to work. They just didn't think she was well enough to return to what she was used to, not yet. So, this was good. It would show them that she could handle it again. That she was in her right mind to get back to what she was meant to do. By this point in her thought process, her mind was made up and there was nothing anyone could say to change her mind: not Chris, not her friends, not even Lauren herself. She needed this. "But, listen, I gotta But, our lawyers will be in contact with the Times so, don't even worry about that. Just take this time to decompress, take some well deserved time off, because you start next week." Before she could hang up or respond, he kept talking. "Oh and welcome back, Khepri." He hung up before she could thank him. She set her phone down before running her hands through her hair. She started to laugh before taking a breath. "Finally." However, her excitement didn't last long as she continued getting ready everything slowly began to set in and this pit in her stomach that had felt for the past week returned. She set her hands against the edge of the counter in front of her as she tried to remember the breathing techniques Chris had told her about to help with any feelings of panic she might be feeling. They never worked but, she always tried just kind of hoping for that one time when it actually does. After what felt like ten minutes, when it was really only a minute, she gave up trying and wiped away the one tear she formed. She was fine. She had to be fine, she didn't have a choice. Everyone else was going to be a mess today. So, Khepri couldn't be.

She downed her wine before setting down the glass and heading out of her brownstone and into her waiting car. Her driver, Barry, had been her driver for years and knew better to than to ask questions as they drove off. At first, the radio was on but it didn't take long for the news station she was listening to turn the topic onto Lauren's murder and how her funeral was today. Which made Barry immediately turn off the radio as they drove in silence. Khepri was so far into thought to even notice the car moving, let alone already arriving. She went through her purse making sure she had everything; a small notebook filled with everything she had found in within the week, a small flask, and her uppers in order to stop her from crashing in front of everyone. It wasn't until the door open beside her, that she realized where she was. She stepped out and look up at the hotel in front of her along with look around at the groups of people surrounding them. Barry just looked at her with what could be described as sad eyes, a look she hated getting, and couldn't even say a word before Khepri stated: "I'm fine. I'll call when I'm ready." The older man just nodded before making his leave, leaving Khepri alone on the sidewalk, still not having the courage to actually walk in.

She took a deep breath, fixing her hair, and made her way in. She didn't bother trying to socialize with anyone, she wasn't in the mood. Besides the only people she wanted to see: Lauren's parents and Lex were either busy talking to other guests and her close friend was nowhere to be seen yet. She slid into a chair, waiting for everything to start, only looking around the room to see where the other 'people of interest' were and setting her eyes on Soren who she saw leave for the second time. Her eyes watched him walk out before turning back to her hands in her lap just waiting for something to happen in order to fill the uneasy silence.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Arisa Winston Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Cassandra Heiks
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Agent Cassandra Heiks
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outfit : herex|xhex: #085721
xxxGot a jail on my heart from the pessimists
xxxGot those nails in my mouth for impressionists
xxxSpent too much money on a therapist
xxxCouldn't fix me, I accepted it

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The third agent had landed in New York only a couple days ago but quickly got to work to catch up on the case, Agent Cassandra Heiks. Her previous precinct had sent her along to help Agent Winston and Agent Monahan, but also to get her out of their hair, a couple days after they reported back about the quick murder, Cass was interested and asked to go, hasnt been anything fun for awhile for her to work with, plus she just got done being undercover. In her mind this would be an interesting and fun assignment, and she thought easy. Well that was until she got to there and saw what they were working with.

Cass had checked out all the evidence tagged by the first team, read over the statements that were taken, as well as pictures of the crime scene. She wanted to talk to the other two that she would be working miss but somehow always missed them, so she decided to dig through all the current suspect’s files and histories. Soren, the ex, who most people thought did it, but that’s too cliche. Rebecca, the best friend, first time back in the country and had a bad car accident awhile back, but she was ruled not at fault. Erin, the bartender, has am unofficial criminal record only some know about, and told the cops she didn’t do it, smart. Nathan, the deadbeat, nothing to gain, but also nothing to lose. Alexander, the rich boy, seemed to have an affair with the victim at the same time, caused the break up with the ex, maybe some sort of jealousy or fight happened. Khepri, the reporter, small fly on the publicity scene and could use the story to make herself big, and Cass doesn’t like reporters.

Cassandra tried investigating a little bit off the record, but didn’t find much so she decided to try to hunt down her fellow Agents and see what they know that isn’t written down, luckily Agent Monahan was easy to track down and assumed he would maybe stop by the service. It was mentioned in the paper the location and time so wasn’t hard to find. She decided to not show up a little late after getting herself a coffee, and sticking towards the back before noticing Kyle towards the back and trying to stay out of sight, though Cass didn’t care.

“Well, well, Look who it is.” Cassandra said as she came up from the side of Kyle and giving him a light slap on the ass. “Been awhile since we worked together. Interesting bunch of suspects we have don’t you think. Especially your sister…” She said with a smirk before leaning against the wall and starting a scan of the room. “Well, the killer always shows up at these things, come on Ky. Plus wanted to see if there’s anything else you can tell me that’s not on paper.” She replied to Kyle’s question and taking a sip of her coffee, before something caught her eye. A female had some markings on her neck, but right as Cass was going to point them out to Kyle, not sure if he saw them, the girl put her scarf back on. “That’s Rebecca Cruze, right? Next to your sister. She has some markings on her neck beneath her scarf. Your reports didn’t mention any type of injuries like that…” She mentioned to her fellow Agent. Wanting to question Rebecca, but knew this wasn’t the place or the time, maybe later. Cassandra then scanned and took note of their other suspects and the states they were in.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Cassandra Heiks
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #575772
xxxremember the words you told me
xxxlove me till the day i die
xxxsurrender my everything cause
xxxyou made me believe you're mine

xxx

As soon as Soren turned around and spotted Khepri, he nearly turned around and walked back out again. He couldn’t stand the thought of an argument with her right now. Even if they hadn't spoken yet, he just knew today would be one of those days where if they spoke, it would end in a blazing row. So instead, he just drained his glass and turned his back, striking up a combination with somebody else instead. He’d just gotten the beckon from Lauren’s parents to say it was nearly time to begin when Rebecca burst in, running straight to Erin. At first, Soren just thought she was upset, given the event they were attending. And then he looked at how disheveled she was and the look of panic on her face. Something had happened. He went to follow them out of the room, but instead, another one of Lauren’s old friends or co-workers or somebody who knew him well enough to know that he was her ex, but not well enough to know how bad things had been.

By the time he escaped, there were too many people for him to slip out and check on Becca. He glanced back for a moment to see her and Erin coming back in, and shot them a forced smile. He dug out his phone and texted Erin.

To: Erin
“Everything okay with Becca?”

Then the service started, with the minister introducing them with a prayer. This wasn’t a funeral. The body hadn’t been released yet for them to bury. But people had to travel home, had commitments, just wanted to move on. And so it still felt like a funeral, a lump rising in Soren’s throat. This had been a mistake. Agreeing to any of this had been a mistake. Coming back to New York had been a mistake.

He somehow managed to keep his composure until he was called to read the poem. He managed to stand to the lectern, his hands shaking as he put the poem on it in front of him. He shouldn’t have been doing this. This wasn’t his to do. Everybody thought they’d remained on good terms and he was lying to everyone, he was lying to everyone in the room. He couldn’t do this.

He somehow made it through the poem. He had no idea how he did, and he had no idea how he did it so well, somehow managing not to stammer or stumble over the words. But as he finished, he couldn’t just go back to his seat and sit there politely and hear everyone talk about her. So he stayed walking, stayed walking until he was out of the room, stayed walking until the familiar feeling of the wave crashed over him and he sank to the floor in heaving, choking sobs. Lauren was dead. Had somebody attacked Becca? Nate looked like he’d been in a fight when he came in. Had somebody gone for him too? Was it a matter of time before people were attending their memorial service? Or would Soren be hearing about it from jail after they pinned the murder on him? He pressed his fist to his mouth in an attempt to stop the sobs or at least muffle them. He didn’t know if he wanted to be found or not. He didn’t know if he wanted a hug or to be left alone to drown in the isolation and the fear and the panic.

He needed to go back before people started to worry. Would anyone worry? Should he wait, just to know for sure? Know if anybody cared for the man they were convinced had killed their beloved Lauren? Should he find out for sure?

No, that wasn’t right either. They didn’t need to worry about him, they all had too much to deal with. They’d lost her, and they had loved her, and they were in enough pain without him to deal with.

The weight of his own indecision, his own fear, kept him pinned to the ground where he was sitting, still sobbing, still gasping for air.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Lauren Clark Character Portrait: Cassandra Heiks
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Rebecca Cruze
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outfit : herex|xhex: #D02090
xxxYoung hearts, out our minds
xxxRunnin' 'til we outta time
xxxWild child's, lookin' good
xxxLiving hard just like we should

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Rebecca stayed cuddled up next to Erin as the service continued, putting her scarf back on to try to cover up any bruising she might have, not exactly wanted people to ask too many questions at the time. She stayed quiet and had a couple sniffles in between everyone’s speeches and talks. Becca had closed her eyes a little after Soren had read his poem and started to zone out as more people continued to talk about who Lauren was and what type of person she was, all of it positive and most of it ignoring the bad part about Lauren.

It wasn’t until Erin nudged Becca that she came back to what was going on. Rebecca was being called to come up and say some things. People knew Lauren and her were close during her time in New York and she had forgotten she had told Lauren’s parents she would say some things. Her mother and father knew about Lauren’s lifestyle and how she would party and her attitude, but they still loved her and were taking this whole situation. Rebecca took a deep breathe and stood up with some help from Erin and slowly walked up to the podium, adjusting her jacket and scarf and wiping her eyes a little.

Rebecca stood infront of the podium and looked at all that were here and smiling to see a her friends faces, Nate, Pri, as well as other friends and family of Lauren. She took a deep breath before talking. “Hello, as most of you I’m Rebecca Cruze, and at one time Lauren’s best friend.We all knew Lauren in our own ways, while she wasn’t perfect, she was who she was and many of us bonded over her. I remember first meeting her when I got to high school as a freshman and met Lauren and took me under her wing, giving me the best years of high school I could ask for. She’s the reason I changed my middle name to Wilde to remember the good times. Some people couldn’t handle who Lauren was, but she knew this and accepted it. I regret not keeping in contact with her more, but she was never forgotten while I was away and will continue to never be forgotten even though she is gone…” Rebecca trailed off, in between wiping her tears before walking down the stage.

As Rebecca walked back to her seat a familiar figure caught her eye, the same detective that had questioned her, Erin, and Lex was here, though in more casual wear. Though he wasn’t alone, he had another woman with him, different than the one at the crime scene, and she had more of the cop look to her, both were eyeing the crowd and had eyes on Becca as she took her seat next to Erin. “The cops are here…” She whispered to Erin, not sure if she had noticed. “I don’t know why they won’t just leave us alone.” She continued, laying her head on Erin’s shoulder.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Cassandra Heiks
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #575772
xxxsomewhere in between
xxxwho i used to be
xxxand who i'll be tomorrow
xxxwhen the champagne blows my mind

xxx
The days after the memorial service were hard. The panic attacks kept coming, and they were getting harder and harder to hide. He wasn't sleeping, was hardly eating unless someone reminded him to, had even stopped going around to Erin's to drink. Everybody thought he had done it. He knew it. He could see it in their eyes when they looked at him. Their expressions had shifted from one of pity to one of vague disgust. They knew it but there was no proof. Everything they had on him was circumstantial. But everything clearing him was also circumstantial. It was only a matter of time and he could feel the imposing threat looming over him.

Eventually, one of his bandmates came round to check in on him. Having found Soren on hour 39 of no sleep, he physically drove Soren to his doctor's office. Soren emerged from the doctor's office with a cocktail of sleeping tablets and anti-anxiety medication and an order to come back in a few days for therapy sessions. Soren didn't want to do any of the above, but the medication at least made him feel human enough to get through the therapy session. He'd had two sessions by the time the dinner party came around. The dinner party was less his idea and more of a "suggestion" from his therapist that felt more like an order. But having other people around made him feel a little less terrible, so he agreed.

But when the morning finally rolled around, things didn't play out exactly as he'd hoped. Because he woke up to a call from the cops, asking him to go back into the station for an interview. He begrudgingly agreed and went in as soon as he was dressed. He hoped it was a technicality, something they just needed to clear up.

He was sorely mistaken. They’d gone through Lauren’s phone, and they’d found… well. He had no idea how she’d gotten them. Lauren was smart, but she wasn’t exactly a hacker. But it didn’t matter. The police had thought they had him. They thought they’d found a motive. But two things put doubt in their mind. First of all, they’d crossmatched his DNA with DNA found under Lauren’s fingernails, and it wasn’t a match. Other witness statements aligned with his in that Lauren had been seen alive after he’d left the room. And their behavioural expert had confirmed that his reaction to seeing the photos was that of somebody discovering that for the first time.

But he couldn’t get the photos out of his head. Lauren had had those for weeks. She could have done anything she liked with them. So why had she kept them? What had she planned to do with them? He shouldn’t have kept the photos. They gave too much away, gave too much, but… it was a reminder that he had been happy. That good things could still happen.

He got home and wanted to do nothing more than just… try and deal with the aftermath of this. But instead, he was faced with an afternoon of cooking and prep. He tried to carry on as normal, but quickly found himself getting overwhelmed. So he rang Rebecca, who agreed to come over. The minute she saw his face, she sat him down, told him to relax, and took over some of the prep as he talked. He told her everything. How could he not? He told her about his morning, about the photos, about everything that had happened. And it didn’t make it go away, but it made it feel a little more manageable, calm enough to help her with the prep.

It was only when he looked at his watch to discover that everyone else was arriving soon and realised he was still a bit of a mess, physically and mentally. “Shit, Rebecca. I need to get changed, I need to… I need to tidy up the place… Shit, I need to take my meds…” he said, jumping to his feet and running a hand through his hair.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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ALEXANDER YANG
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Ethical Hacker | Outfit | Hex: #4E3475
There is only one way to avoid criticism:
do nothing, say nothing, be nothing...

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|| Day of Lauren's Memorial ||

A week had passed since Lauren's unfortunate passing, her memorial would be held later today. During this time Alexander had spent his time going over all of the evidence that he and Khepri had accumulated. Despite the vast amount of information they were able to gather they weren't any closer to discovering any hints to who had committed the crime. There was very little Lex could do to further their investigation, there just wasn't anything there. Resigned to that fact Lex chose instead to get back into his usual routine, addressing the investigation if anything else came up.

While preparing to go to Lauren's memorial, while taking a shower, Lex heard his phone ringing on the sink. He ignored it and let the call go til it would leave a message but the phone would ring again right afterwards. Thinking it must've been important, considering not many people had his personal number, Lex exited the shower and answered the call. "Who is it and why are you bothering me?"

The voice on the other end was hurried and sounded out of breath, "Boss... You're not going to like this but..." They were hesitant to continue, not wanting to be the one to deliver the message. Lex silently waited for them to finish, feeling slightly perturbed. "...You know the lady you told us to take care of... Well she was attacked but she managed to get away... I think she ran to the memorial service for your... Friend."

Fury and anger erupted in Lex's psyche, impacting even his physical appearance. Before being overcome by these emotions Lex calmed himself down enough to talk, saying with an oddly cool but unmistakably furious voice, "Weren't you suppose to take care of it? ...Tell me exactly how she could be attacked if you were doing your job?" They replied that they were preoccupied. "Preoccupied? ...That would mean you were busy, correct? What exactly is more important than a direct mission given by me ...your Boss?" Between the silence and unintelligible mumbles from the other end Lex began to lose his patience. He knew that they wouldn't overlook any direction he gave them without a good reason, it was then that the answer was obvious. "Which branch was it? Who had overridden my order? Seconds passed until a single word escaped from the voice on the other end of the phone, the word Deputy.

Still fuming Lex ended the call with his subordinate, he knew that they didn't have a choice so he didn't question them further. While getting dressed Lex began calling his secretary. She answered the call cheerily asking, "What do you need boss?" While buttoning up his shirt Lex began to list a number of things he wanted his secretary to take care of. This list consisted of: delivering a gift to the Clarks after the memorial; expressing Lex's apology for not being able to attend due to company related issues; look into who had attacked Rebecca, as they were likely to be connected to, if not, Lauren's killer; to have a 'meeting' with his subordinate arranged; have one of his firearms placed in his car. His secretary could tell that there was something off due to the tone of his voice. She asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you? ...Have some drinks prepared perchance?"

Now fully dressed and prepared Lex laughed at his secretaries attempt at humor. Walking out into the elevator and pressing the button for the bottom floor Lex answered her, saying, "Yeah, I'll probably need it..." Lex pulled his lighter from his coat, lighting up a cigarette as the elevator started to go down. "Don't wait up for me Tina. I need to have a 'little chat' with someone..."

It took a while for his driver to arrive since there were some late minute 'arrangements' which needed to be made. Lex continued to chain smoke waiting for his car to arrive. He pulled out his phone, pondering whether or not to contact Becca or any of his 'friends'. Looking down at the new wallpaper on his phone, a picture he took while Becca was eating breakfast, a number of emotions swirling around his mind til he saw his driver park in front of the residential building.

When he reached his car and got inside he checked underneath his seat to find his Glock 45, fully loaded with four more magazines prepared. He fastened the gun into his appendix holster and clipped the magazines on the back of his belt. After he was done preparing that his driver asked him where they were going exactly. Opening up the window, Lex flicked out the remainder of his cigarette before answering the driver, saying, "Where does anyone in this city go with a gun? ...We are of course going to the 'shooting range'." The driver chuckled at this response before he started to drive to where he knew they needed to go.

Muffled sounds being emitted from the limousines trunk. Clicking his fingers Lex acted like he just remembered something. "Ah, that's right. Before we go to the 'range' we need to throw out some trash... Know any good places to do that?" The driver shook his head, knowing where they needed to go and his boss's preferred order. As the driver looked back towards he saw the cold glint in his bosses eyes, glad that he wouldn't be on the receiving end of whatever he was planning.

|| Day of Soren's Dinner Party ||

Days had passed since Becca's assault and there was no signs or information he could gather about the culprit. This frustrated Lex but he couldn't do anything about it, despite his skills and resources, just like in Lauren's case. Lex sent several messages to Pri, seeing if she was able to find out anything about the incident either. He hadn't received an affirmation yet but considering the difficulties he was having he doubted that she would've caught on to anything either.

"Boss, we'll stay nearby in case you need us... and as per your instruction we'll pay better attention than last time." Lex's eyes scanned over the subordinates he had gathered today. There was four of them, not including the driver, they were Chinese American like himself and were dressed in common New York street-wear to better blend in to their surroundings. It was a completely different group from the people who were first tasked to watch over Becca. Lex didn't want a repeat of what happened last time.

"Just stay outside near the building. Two of you have eyes on the car and each other, the driver will maintain surveillance on the main entrance. The others will patrol around the building and see if anyone goes in any other way, stay together and watch each others back." Lex had carried his gun with him since Becca's assault, not wanting to be without an answer to an unexpected incident like that again.

Lex and Soren weren't particularly the greatest of friends, especially after the incident between himself and Lauren, but he wanted to see everyone after what happened. Opening the door of the car, Lex slowly walked towards the entrance to Soren's residential building. As he was about to go inside he saw his men go into action and start following his instructions. He looked at them indifferently before the entrance closed and his view of them was obscured.

Arriving at Soren's apartment Lex knocked on the door, waiting for someone to open the door for him. A minute passed before anyone came to the door, whoever was inside must've been to busy to welcome Lex in. He began to think about whether or not he should open the door himself or wait outside for someone to answer the door. Not wanting to be rude and not being really interested in engaging in the majority of his 'friends' drama, Lex patiently waited across from Soren's door. Taking out a cigarette and lighting it up, taking a drag as he waited for someone to either open the door or arrive.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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the perfectionistx|xoutfitx|x#B76A81

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During it, the funeral, Khepri seemed weirdly okay. Having a wide pair of black sunglasses covering her eyes almost the entire time and flask slightly peeking out of the pocket of her black coat while keeping a stone face demeanor and wiping away the occasional tear. She had to keep it together in order to be there for everyone else; Lauren's parents, her friends, co-workers, anyone who felt like the only way to get over the fact that Lauren was murdered and her killer was still just walking around was by talking about their favorite moments with her, how she changed their lives, and how they could barely sleep because of it all. As if any of this would change anything. It was bullshit. It was all bullshit. One of her closest and oldest friends was gone and everything was worse now. Her killer was walking free, her friends were people of interest, and Lauren went to her grave without Khepri having the chance to even come clean, and now she felt like a bigger piece of shit than she usually did. But, despite what she thought. She couldn't bring herself to break the facade for anyone else. They needed this. So, she indulged them. She smiled and laughed, shared her own stories about her and Lauren, all to make those around her more comfortable with coming to terms with it all.

But, it wasn't until she finally went up the casket when she felt her body start to panic and everything began to really sink it. When she ran her hand against the hardwood surface, it felt like someone was sitting on her chest, the room began to spin, and she could feel herself getting nauseous. It felt like she hit by a bus. What was she supposed to do at this moment? What could she do? Run out of the room? Bust into tears and make a scene? Draw attention and make it about her? No, not a chance. She didn't even want anyone to see her like this. She tried to take deep breaths or get some air outside but, nothing helped and the feeling stayed until later that night when she was finally alone in her room. She let it out for bit before realizing that she had a show to put on and throwing herself a pity party and talking about her feelings wasn't going to get that done.

The days following the funeral were... chaotic and isolating for Khepri, to say the least. The day after the funeral, Khepri thought it was for the best to completely lock herself away, turn off her personal phone, and just basically vanish off the face of the Earth. Primarily because she had work to do with her list of theories and slight mental breakdown growing but also because when she wasn't glued to her computer or the notes all over her walls, she didn't even know what to say to the others. She wasn't good with grief and guilt or talking about it. And she really wasn't in the mood to try and process any of it with anyone. Not Nate, Not Chris, and definitely not Lex. She didn't need him, of all people, to think she was teetering off the deep end, again. Not that he'd notice with other things occupying his main attention, but that was fine. She wasn't angry or jealous. Why would she be? She was at her best alone. Right? At least that's what everyone else said so they could rationalize bettering their lives whether it be through throwing a tantrum towards her and just disappearing to go to LA with their band, or chasing after a girl they hadn't seen in years, or just willingly choosing to do whatever they want while throwing a certain someone to the wolves of her shitty life. All under the excuse; "Oh, she's Khepri. She can handle anything" or "She'll get over it, she's Pri."

Okay, maybe it was more than a small mental breakdown mounting but, she'd deal with that at a later time. When she wasn't supposed to be already left to go to some dinner party. But, that small fact didn't make her look away from her computer screen. She was less than 24 hours away from her report (that none of her friends still knew about but, they'd find out soon enough) and she was so close to finishing up her report to send to the teleprompters that she could taste it. She was in a rhythm about this story, something that hasn't happened in a really long time, and she wasn't going to break that for some stupid party with her high school friends who all probably secretly couldn't stand her; Lex and Becca excluded. She wouldn't even be going if it wasn't for the fact that Miss. 'Put Together' felt like she had had to in order to make everything look like she was perfectly fine. She didn't break routine, not once, no matter how much her body wanted to rest.

She went to the gym, researched, kept notes on the case, went to her therapist, kept up appearances, and acted as if nothing was wrong. And from the outside looking in, she seemed... oddly fine but, by those closest to her she knew they'd start seeing the cracks if she didn't get smarter about it. And going to this goddamn dinner, party, whatever you wanted to call it seemed like a good place to start. She'd show face, have a drink, have an actual conversation with Lex, and slip out. Easy. It was a chance to show them she was fine, no need to check-in, and another reason for them to leave her alone. Plus, who knows maybe someone would let something slip that she could use. And all she had to do to do that was get up! "You antisocial, workaholic, lazy piece of shit, get up! You have been in the room for days! You're dressed and look like a bad bitch. We have to go!" Even her nagging thought fell on deaf ears as she was finishing the last paragraph. Five minutes turned into half an hour before she finally read it over for what felt like the tenth time and finally smiled in triumph. It finally didn't sound like hot garbage. She could relax, for now. She hit send and took a deep breath. Finally getting up from her desk to slid on her knee-high black boots. She texted her driver that she was finally ready which gave her about ten minutes before he was at the front door waiting for her. And in that timespan, she caught her eyes darting back to her computer. [color#B76A81]"You know that draft was hot garbage, right? Somehow you found a way to fill twenty minutes of screentime while not saying anything of substance. Good job."[/color] No, no. It was fine. She was going to let that little voice in her head make her think otherwise. Even though fine wasn't going to get her out of this hellhole of a city...

She had ten minutes, she'd just fix a few things. What would that hurt? She'd tweak a little of the language, use a few more hard-hitting words, and then she'd be done. Then she'd go. Ten turned into thirty more minutes and now she was almost an hour later. Great. She was rereading, again and again, her acrylic fingernails tapping rapidly against the wood desk while her phone was vibrating next to her. She snapped out of it to realize the time. "Shit!" She saved the final, final draft and sent it to the editors to savage in any way they could before snatching her little baggie and tossing it in her purse and grabbing the bottle of aged bourbon she had gotten as a peace offering party gift for Soren. She hurried down to the main lobby and smiled as she silently huffed. She apologized to her driver and slid in the back before turning her attention to her phone sending out two texts to the two most important people in her life right now; Lex and her editor.

To: Lex
Sorry I've been MIA, busy w/ work. I'm on my way to Soren's now, save me a drink.

To: Rick
My notes are shit, I know. I'll fix them when I get home.

The rest of the ride was filled with wine and just trying to get herself to relax. The script would be okay, she'd stay up tonight and fix it. This was going to be a time to stop thinking about the report and Lauren and finally fucking relax. By the time, she made it to Soren's, she had some much to drink she was actually smiling. When the door opened, she grabbed her belongings and thanked her driver before walking up to the stairs. She was going to knock but, when twisting the knob she found that whoever came in last forgot to lock it. So, she just let herself in. She smiled towards Lex but was not in any way prepared for the sight that was unfolding in front of her: Nate holding onto Becca, Soren kicking the-- the detective (?!) out, Erin between everyone, and well, overall a pretty interestingly chaotic scene she had walked in on.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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0000Erin0Monahan 00000000000000000|00000000000000000000|Kyle0 Monahan

outfit : herex|xhex: #80000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000outfit : herexxhex: #063A67

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Everything that could have gone bad, was going bad. From the mistake of bringing Kyle to the party, to the events that took place before and during the week that led up to this, and then the fact that Erin had never told them until now. She hadn't told anyone that she knew that Kyle was back. She had been so busy and by herself in the days that followed that she never once thought to tell them. Let them know what was going on and that Kyle was here, and that he was the agent that had to question a vast majority of them, or had some part in the entire investigation. One simple mistake. One simple, god damn mishap had ended in the result of this. Kyle being pushed back and harrassed by Rebecca, who was then taken to the side by Nate as he told her to calm down. She was now literally in the middle of this, and she had to play her cards right. She couldn't make any more mistakes, she had to make sure that nothing escalated further. Her eyes darted between them all, knowing full well what and how they'd react. They'd be angry, they'd have every right to be. But they had to listen, right? They'd understand, they'd have to. It was Kyle. Not only a childhood friend, but her brother. They knew him well and knew how he was, they'd have to know he wouldn't be any trouble. That they could simply listen and just let him stay. Erin cleared her throat and began to speak with as calm of a voice as she could, "It'll all make sense, but Rebecca. You have no right to just fucking push someone around like that, alright? You don't need to be such a fucking bit-" she started to speak, somewhat loudly and oddly defensively. But she wasn't expecting what came next. Whether it was Rebecca wriggling out of Nate's grasp, or the slap that came next. She almost didn't even realize what happened initially as her face paled, eyes growing wide at the initial impact of the slap. She simply stood there, mouth slightly agape as she finally recollected her thoughts. The words that had come out of her mouth before Rebecca had lashed out, came out faster than she could process them. She was just surprised about what she said as the others were. She knew full well that when she gets even the slightest bit heated, she has a tendency to say things she shouldn't, but having called Rebecca a bitch over this whole mess was one huge mistake. All of this was.

Erin rubbed her cheek silently as Nate quickly grabbed Rebecca from behind and pulled her backward. All while yelling at Erin that she better have one hell of an explanation for all of this. Her eyes darted around the room as she tried to think. Her eyes darted from Rebecca, to Nate, and then the others. Sighing for a moment as she took another moment to recollect herself, as everything that transpired happened in just a few short seconds. "First, you hit like a very small child." she rattled off, which was more or less under her breath, but loud enough for Rebecca to hear at the small distance between them. Erin took a short pause to compose herself, looking at Nate as she spoke next, "I do, if you just let me speak-" she was cut off yet again, but this time it was Soren. She quickly turned her head to look at him as he spoke. Her eyes narrowed as he said he didn't care what the explanation was, and that he had to leave. That it wasn't okay for him to stay there and that he needed to leave. He knew too much and he made their lives hell.

Her mind was a whirlwind of things as she was processing everything that happened. She took a short moment to look at Kyle, seeing how he was just blankly staring at the flood gave her enough of a notion to know what kind of mindset he was in. "Are you okay, Kyle?" she asked softly, he simply nodded his head, his voice coming out in a soft whisper, "I-I'm fine..." Kyle said, his eyes never leaving the floor as he was stuck in one of his episodes. Erin turned her head to look back at Soren. Her jaw was locked in place for a moment as her eyes closed, trying to remain calm and collected. But she had been calm for far too long, and she could feel the anger slowly rising and it was only a matter of time until it all bubbled over, and now it was just starting to show. "You know what, Soren? Fuck you." she said suddenly and coldly. The words dripping out of her mouth like poison as she approached him, keeping a small distance from them as she continued to speak, "I have been so calm and easy-going through everything. Everything." she put an emphasis on the second part, making sure Soren knew exactly what she was hinting at. "From the bullshit and break up with Lauren, to the thing with Pri and Lex, and especially when you fucking left without a word. I was there, through it all. I listened. I never once questioned anything. I was there through it all for you, and I never once left you. I never once left anyone to question what they did to deserve being walked out on." her voice and presence was growing colder and colder the longer she spoke, every word sounding more pained than the last. She could feel the all too familiar burn start behind her eyes as tears slowly trickled down her cheek, wiping them off with her sleeve. Her eyes focused on Soren for a moment before she pushed him back slightly, "I never once asked for anything in return, ever. And what did I get? You leaving without a god damn word. Just like everyone else. I never once left you or anyone else alone and I am not going to do the same to him." Erin said with an ice-cold tone, her eyes never once leaving Soren's. "So go fuck yourself, Soren."







Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Cassandra Heiks
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #575772
xxxsomewhere in between
xxxwho i used to be
xxxand who i'll be tomorrow
xxxwhen the champagne blows my mind

xxx
Something was wrong. This wasn’t just his meds and the alcohol messing him up, something was really, really wrong. It felt like he was suddenly under water. He felt like he couldn’t breathe. Everything around him felt false, surreal, like a dream.

Erin’s words made it feel more like a nightmare. In all the years they’d known each other, they’d never fought. Sure, she’d yelled at him for being dumb or for doing something dumb. But it had never been like this. Before, it had always been out of love, out of concern. This wasn’t. This was anger, anger that had been brewing for too long. And the worst part was?

She was right. It would have been easier if she was yelling at him about something he couldn’t control, about something that he’d been right about. But he’d just left her. He’d regretted it ever since. But he’d never actually apologized. He had just been so… angry, so hurt. He’d been willing to leave her behind with all the rest of the shit he’d been through, despite the fact that she’d been right there with him.

And he couldn’t get a fucking word out to explain himself. He was trying, trying to push through the fog, wanting to grab her and hug her and say sorry and try to make everything better. But instead, she just shoved him and he stumbled over his own feet, having to clutch on to a chair to hold himself up. He couldn’t look her in the face. He’d ruined everything. He’d destroyed it.

“Erin, I-” he managed to force out, determined to say something at least. “I’m sorry,” he slurred. He’d only just gotten the words out and the world seemed to tilt violently, before he hit the floor and everything went black.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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ALEXANDER YANG
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Ethical Hacker | Outfit | Hex: #4E3475
There is only one way to avoid criticism:
do nothing, say nothing, be nothing...

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With his cigarette still in his mouth Lex saw the door to Sorin's apartment open, seeing one of the people he was concerned about, Becca. Since the time they last saw each other she had changed her appearance, this made Lex even more frustrated with the events that happened on Lauren's memorial, believing that this sudden change was because of the emotional state she was in after everything that has happened to her. Several thoughts began to occupy his mind, including: if only he was there with her when she was attacked, if only he could've convinced her to stay with him to protect her, and if only those men would've followed his orders and no one else.

Lex shook those thoughts out of his mind, stubbing out his cigarette on his watch face and flicking it into a nearby trashcan, walking towards Becca and taking her hand as she invited him in. While she was guiding Lex around the apartment, noting everything of importance, he remained quiet as he tried to find anything or anyone that may be suspicious. With Becca being recently attacked he couldn't take any more chances, his hands lingering near his concealed weapon as he looked around, they all had targets on their back and he would target whoever was behind this.

When Becca spotted Sorin she made a remark on how drunk he was, something which didn't surprise Lex. "I mean... This is Sorin we're talking about. Nothing new about him drinking in excess." He chuckled lightly after saying that before noticing that Becca didn't seem to hear him as she was staring in Sorin's direction. Wanting to understand what was bothering her Lex looked in the direction she was and saw the officer who had questioned him.

Becca began to walk towards that officer and concerned for her and what she may do Lex followed after her, grabbing a drink as he did. When Becca began to question the officer, who was dressed in civilian attire which made Lex question whether or not he was here undercover or for another reason, Lex's phone alerted him of an incoming message. Looking down at his phone he saw that the message was from Pri, curious as to what she had messaged him, he opened the message and read it. When he had finished reading the message, Lex looked up to see Becca push the officer. As Becca looked towards Lex he felt her need for help, sighing and walking closer to the two. He began to talk to the officer, saying "Look, I don't know why you're here and I really do not care. I believe for everyone here we should just forget about everything that just took place..."

Before he could continue Lex was interrupted by Erin, who had just walked up to us, stating that she had invited the officer and that she could explain why. Considering how close the once were and that Erin could probably smooth the situation better than him, since she seemed to personally know the officer, Lex was willing to give her the chance she needed to explain everything to everyone. While rubbing his temple with his eyes closed, Lex said to Erin, "Alright... you should probably start talking before anything else..."

Before he could finish talking Lex was interrupted by Erin. Just before Erin could call Becca a bitch the sound of someone being slapped could be heard all over the apartment. Alarmed Lex opened his eyes to see that Becca had just slapped Erin before being held back from doing anything further by Nate, who exclaimed how Erin better have 'a hell of' an explanation. Sorin, in his drunken stupor, began to say his piece before he began to hesitate between statements. Apparently whatever he was trying to say was hard for him to reveal to everyone here but Erin seemed to know what he was getting at, how close the two have been this wasn't a surprise.

After all of this had gone down Pri must've arrived as Lex saw her smiling at him. Seeing her arrive made the accumulating tension in Lex's mind slightly release, if anyone could help him better control this situation it would be her. Lex walked towards her, giving the drink he had grabbed earlier to Pri, before he whispered to her, "Here's that drink you wanted... You sure picked one hell of a time to arrive." Lex laughed a little, putting an arm around her shoulder and walking towards the main group before continuing. "Hopefully things will calm down now that we're here together... but I'm guessing that's unlikely."

By the time Lex and Pri had walked back towards the group they could hear Erin talking to the officer, calling him Kyle. It was at this moment that everything Erin was talking about began to click in Lex's mind. The officer who was investigating the group had been Erin's brother Kyle and he was here at the party for personal reasons, most likely because he was invited by Erin. Lex began to sigh as he thought that this misunderstanding could've all been avoided if Erin had just messaged everyone beforehand but he couldn't really be upset with her because she didn't have to. She didn't have any obligations towards any of them to reveal anything.

Erin, now frustrated and no longer capable of restraining herself, started to cuss out Sorin and began to express, in part, things that were bothering her. Lex could feel her pain as she expressed herself and everything she went through. When she mentioned about the situation with him and Pri, Lex couldn't help but feel the emotions he felt during that time. As Erin continued to vent Lex saw the tears begin to form in her eyes before they began to fall.

When she had finished and had told Sorin 'to go fuck' himself, Lex looked towards Sor who had approached Erin before being pushed back by her. Lex noticed there was something a little strange as Sor began to stumble back and clutch to a chair. Concerned for Sor, despite everything they went through, Lex let go of Pri and began to walk towards Sor. As soon as Sor's apology to Erin came out of his mouth he collapsed, hitting the floor with a loud thud.

Lex rushed towards Sor but was unable to grab him before he hit the floor. Kneeling down next to the unconscious Sor, Lex laid the back of his hand across Sor's head checking his temperature and was confused when Sor's skin was cold and clammy. Not wanting to panic right away Lex placed his index and middle finger next to Sor's windpipe, where the carotid artery should be located, while watching his watch as Lex attempted to take note of Sor's pulse. Lex had a hard time doing this as Sor's pulse was very weak but when he finally got a grasp of it he noticed how fast it was. It was also at this moment that he noticed Sor's lips turn blue.

"Fuck..." Lex exclaimed as he looked down at his phone, thinking about what he should do. Something was wrong with Sor and if Lex's fears were right it was most likely what had happened to Lauren. Of course this could be an overreaction on Lex's part but with Sor unconscious he didn't feel like he could take any chances. He thought about how fast an ambulance could get here and back and decided that it would be too slow. Lex decided that he would call his men up to help, messaging the two patrolling the building to come up, while trying to formulate a plan with those here with him.

"Look... everyone shut the fuck up and listen to me!" Lex shouted, loud enough for everyone in the apartment to hear him, while standing up. "Something is wrong with Sor, most likely a heart problem from what I've checked but I'm not a medical professional. If anyone here is can you please take a look at him... I would rather not act before knowing what's wrong but if no one can help in this aspect I plan on taking him to the nearest hospital as soon as possible." While looking over the crowd he started to think about what else he could do to make sure that he was as prepared to address this issue as possible, not noticing if anyone did check Sor.

Lex looked over towards Erin and Kyle, saying"I know you've gone through a lot, we all have, and we all have a lot of things that is bothering us and tearing us down. We all lost someone who was once close to us and I doubt that any of us wants to lose someone else... Say I'm overreacting or whatever the hell else you want but if I'm the one concerned for this fucking asshole then there probably is something fucking wrong... We can all continue talking out our shit later but what matters right now, this very fucking moment, is Sor."

After saying that Lex looked directly at Kyle, saying, "If no one here is capable of reversing whatever is happening to Sor, I need to know if you have a police cruiser, or sirens, anything we can use so we can transport Sor to the hospital as quickly as possible. I've got my ride downstairs in that instance we don't and can take Sor as well as our group there... and I have some men coming upstairs to help us, if needed." Lex's mind was running at a thousand miles and hour trying to think of anything else he could personally do to help but the stress was starting to get to him, he began to feel lightheaded.

Lex stumbled a bit before regaining his composure, grabbing a glass of alcohol nearby and chugging it, trying to calm himself. Now looking at Nate, who was still holding Becca, he said, "You can probably let go of her now..." With his mind still racing Lex looked towards Pri with a look that tried to convey what he was thinking. He was thinking if there was anything else that they could do and if there was anyone who could answer Lex it would be Pri. Pri was his closest friend and with everything going on he knew that he hadn't been as supportive to her as he could be. After this he knew that he needed to be there for her, and he needed to be there more for everyone, despite what they've all gone through, as well as Becca.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: The New Rebecca
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N a t h a n Miller
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outfit - #D6CF13
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Nate couldn’t help but roll his eyes when Erin went off on Soren. This was hardly the time or place to air past grievances, but Erin was still taking the opportunity. A lot had gone on between them, between all of them, but right now they probably all needed to just calm down and talk like adults. The whole dynamic of the group had changed since everything went on between Lauren and Soren, and it seemed that some of the emotions were finally rearing an ugly head.

He hardly even noticed Khepri arrive, but by now he was starting to consider that maybe moving with her hadn’t been such a bad idea, after all. All of this drama was exhausting, and he while he felt it was easily avoidable, he also knew that, for the most place, it wasn’t his place to butt in with his own opinions, beyond that a physical fight was a very bad idea.

When Soren hit the floor, he froze, still holding on to Becca as if to hold her back, but his grip was loose, and really he felt more like she was anchoring him than he was holding her back. He knew something was wrong, and he’d known it the moment Soren had greeted him. And now this happened. Nate felt, in his gut, that he’d only managed to make things worse. They should have sat down, or Nate should have paid closer attention. As Lex spoke, Nate shook his head. He was right. Of course he was.

Nate started racking his brain for everything that had happened since he’d arrived. He’d been with Soren, and he felt guilty for not being more attentive. He started thinking off all Soren’s behavior, everything he knew about the man. He knew what this looked like, he’d seen it plenty of times before. But he didn’t think Soren would be taking anything at a dinner party, he didn’t seem like the type. Then again, Nate was quickly coming to the conclusion that he’d never really known any of his friends very well in the first place.. Nate finally let go of Rebecca’s arms when Lex spoke to him. He’d honestly forgotten he was still holding on to her. His heart was pounding in his chest, accompanied by a terrifyingly familiar ache. He didn’t want to lose someone else, not now. Not so soon. Not like this.

“How much has he had to drink?” He mused, thinking out loud. Something wasn’t adding up, then he thought he remembered something from when he’d first arrived. He looked towards the kitchen and spotted the familiar bright orange plastic of a prescription bottle, then looked at Becca, “Soren’s on medication?” He asked her because she was right there, and because she’d already been there when he arrived. He didn’t really need an answer, though, or specifics.

Shit. He hadn’t wanted to be right, but now he thought he was. “He’s overdosing.” He said it aloud, loud enough for everyone to hear. He’d sounded so sure of himself, but then he shook his head, confidence seeming to leave his eyes, “I mean, I’m no expert, but… But this is…” He looked to Erin, as if asking her for help, or to back him up. He didn't know what to do next, but he knew that this could go from bad to worse very quickly. He and Soren had never been particularly close, but Nate still thought of him as a friend, and he didn't want to see anything happen to any of his friends.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan
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Rebecca Cruze
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outfit : herex|xhex: #696969
xxxI act like I don’t fuckin care,
xxxLike they ain’t even there,
xxxI act like I don’t fuckin care,
xxxCuz I’m so fuckin scared,

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Rebecca was getting a little annoyed waiting for this cop to respond or react to her, sort of expecting something more out of the cop. When someone put her hand on her shoulder Becca quickly shrugged it off and turned to see who it was, still a bit of fire in her eyes. She was surprised it was Erin trying to calm down Becca, and she was even more surprised when she was taking the cops side, even saying she brought him here. She was shocked, this cop and his buddies were saying any of Lauren’s close friends murdered her, interrogating Soren and making him feel terrible and throwing the possible blackmail in his face. “What the fuck do you mean ‘you brought him here?’” Becca asked, not moving. She felt another presence next to her and heard Nate’s voice saying he had her back, but right now she just had her eyes on Erin.

At first Becca was listening to Erin when she said it would make sense, but then she started lecturing her about what she should and shouldn’t do. This just added fuel to Rebecca’s fire and before Erin could get the next word out Becca slapped her across the face, and then lightly pulled back from Nate. “How dare you! Look at Soren! He’s distraught, because this guy and his cop buddies interrogated him.” She shouted over Nate. Then Erin insulted her slap which set Becca off more, luckily Nate lifted up and by her waist and carried her a few more feet away from Erin before it could get ugly, entire time she was struggling and telling him to let her go.

Nate finally set her down but was still holding her in place, still a tight enough grip so she wouldn’t be able to charge Erin. “Fine. And I don’t want to go outside. I’m fine being inside. Just… me a bitch? She brought this asshole here.” Becca pleaded with Nate, a little bit of a frown but could still be seen as angry. When Soren and Erin started to argue she wanted to go back over there but Nate just whispered to her no and held her in place. As She listened she was surprised by one of the first thing’s that came out of Erin’s mouth. Kyle. This cop was Kyle. And it slowly started to make sense, that's why Erin had invited him here. Not as a cop, but as their friend.

But then Erin started going off on Soren. Erin shouldn’t be saying those things to Soren, even with all the drama, he didn’t deserve it. But Becca started to feel a little bad when she was yelling about how everyone left her and Becca just stopped struggling. It was true. Rebecca left town as soon as she could, even if everyone else stuck around while she did her senior year. She didn’t just leave town, she left the country and didn’t really stay in contact with anyone, including her.

When Soren fell Rebecca was shocked and scared, and quickly broke off Nate’s now loose grip and went to his side. “Soren? Soren talk to me, wake up.” She quickly said, choking up a little bit between her words. Then Lex and Nate started talking, explaining what was going on. “No… not you too…” Becca mumbled out. First she lost Lauren, she couldn’t lose Soren as well. She was brought out of her trance when Nate asked her about the medication. “I… Uh… He mentioned it earlier, but I think he said something about forgetting to take them or something.” Rebecca said looking sorrowful into Nate’s eyes and looking around the room, her eyes stopping on Kyle. “Wait, you’re a cop. Call this in, or something!” She shouted before turning back to Soren and tightening her grip on his hand. “Please…”





Agent Cassandra Heiks
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outfit : herex|xhex: #085721
xxxGot a jail on my heart from the pessimists
xxxGot those nails in my mouth for impressionists
xxxSpent too much money on a therapist
xxxCouldn't fix me, I accepted it

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Cassandra sat in the car with low music and taking notes on what she was seeing going on. Typical party things, people being drunk, making out on the porch swing, drunks yelling. Nothing illegal yet exactly, but even if they did start being a ruckus and disturbing the peace she would have to stay quiet as to let these people mourn and not cause any more drama for Kyle. Cass specifically took note on Khepri Mahajan arrive later than everyone else. “Looks like the whole gang showed up tonight…” She said as she took down the time of her arriving and underling some other key points for her to focus on.

Then there was a scream that made Cass sit up, as if something happened. But Cassandra didn’t want to rush in since people screaming was typical at parties so it could have just been that, but then some of the guys that showed up with Alexander Yang quickly rushed inside. Something didn’t feel right with what was going on and she was about to run inside as well when her phone went off. Not an email notification, or someone checking in on her, but a phone call from her partner Kyle. Cass quickly answered the phone and listened to Kyle, barely able to make out what was going on. “What? God damnit. Bring him outside.” She said before hanging up and quickly starting the car.

After pulling up onto the curb and honking for people to get out of the way Agent Cassandra hopped out and opened the back door for Soren, who Kyle had told him was overdosing. She dug through the trunk and quickly found the attachable police siren and attached it to the roof and hooked it up while the others put Soren in the back seat. “Whoa. I can’t fit everyone inside this dinky piece of shit. Two more people tops. I’m your best chance of getting him somewhere to live so no arguing.” Cass said as she climbed into the driver seat and waited for the others to get in. “Kyle, get a handle on this party.” She revved the engine and turned on the siren. “And be safe.” Cassandra finished flashing a smile before pulling off and speeding down the road.

Driving to the nearest hospital wouldn’t take too long, but Cassandra knew they didn’t have much more time and sped through traffic, calling in situation as well. “This is Agent Cassandra Heiks, I have a possible overdose of a suspect. Soren Bowers. 10-45C. On route to NYC Metropolitan Hospital.” At the moment traffic laws didn’t matter as she sped through lights and stop signs with her siren on and honking for people to get out of her way. “How is he doing back there?” Cass asked she rounded a corner.

When the car finally arrived at the hospital Cassandra skidded to a stop at the ER entrance where a stretcher was already waiting for them. She put the car in parked and quickly got out giving the small information she was given. “Possible overdose, also a mixture of alcohol. Was given this bottle saying this is what he was taking by some witnesses at the scene. Name Soren Bowers.” Cass quickly told them as they took Soren into the back and then turning her attention back to the two that came with her. Two suspects in Lauren’s murder, and now two witness to another suspect overdosing. “Now… what happened.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: The New Rebecca Character Portrait: Cassandra Heiks
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Erin Monahan
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outfit : herex|xhex: #80000
xxxIf I could stop the sun
xxxAnd undo all I've done
xxxI'd be that same some one knocking at your door
xxxLike The Way We Were before
Everything that had come out of her mouth after the initial push of Soren, had come out without her thinking. She just had so much pain, anger, regret, and it had all been festering. Festering for years without any outlet to expose of it. She kept how she felt to herself for years, everything that she had been put through, she had been silent. She kept how she felt about everything to herself, and never let it out. She simply kept it building, and building. It was only a certain amount of time until everything came unraveled, and it only snowballed from there. She wasn't angry at Soren, or anyone else. She was angry at herself. She let herself be pushed around and walked over by everyone for years, and never said a thing. Sure, she called people out on their bullshit after doing something stupid, like the night Soren told her about him and Pri having slept together. Sure, it was stupid and irresponsible. But she had no room to judge, and the judgment she gave was minor at best. Erin simply called him an idiot and that he should have known better, and Khepri should have known better, especially with her fiance. Erin hadn't really cared much after calling Soren out on his bullshit, and she, sure enough, called out Khepri for it as well. She told them both that it was incredibly stupid, and that if they wanted to keep things up, it was best to keep her out of it. Then when things with Lauren happened, both the cheating of both Lauren and Soren, she, sure enough, had called them out as well on that. She called them out on everything, even after the break up when Soren kept going back to Lauren, but she kept how she felt about the situation to herself and only let small amounts of frustration out whenever Soren went back to her. It was a deadly mix of alcohol, mistakes, lust, and sex and everyone knew it. But they had no right to judge as they were all guilty of something stupid, therefore they kept silent for the most part.

But even after all of that, even when Lauren and Soren finally broke up for the last time which resulted in everyone separating in their senior year, Erin was there. She was there for Soren, Lauren, Nate, Rebecca, all of them. Even Alexander and Khepri, she listened to them and heard them out, being the mediator half the time for their petty squabbles and bullshit. But just as always, she kept how she felt about everything to herself. Burying it deep and hidden away where no one could see. Everyone else had their own bullshit to deal with, and she knew it. They didn't need to hear her out, or her own issues and troubles. She was the one they came to when someone needed to vent, and she listened. Only giving her peace when it was all said and done. And now, now she had enough. After years of listening to everyone and their issues, their bullshit and problems. Their drama and so-called bad times. She was there, and she had enough. After the group split, with Soren and Khepri and Rebecca leaving without a word, with only a few of the others staying in New York, Erin had no one. She tried putting the pieces back together. Tried reaching out to them. She tried everything, but they all simply didn't want anything to do with her. Even after all that she had done for them. After every little thing, they tossed her out and left her to the curb. While everyone else was traveling the world and making a life for themselves, she groveled and made her way to where she somehow managed to end up now.

Looking where it got her, she couldn't help but scoff. Losing her friends, the ones she gave everything up for, and the one she only ever truly cared for, walked out on her. Hanging her high and dry. She expected it from some, but some hurt more than others. Such as Soren. They had been the best and closest of friends. No matter what, they had been there for each other. Through the good, bad, and the ugly, they were there for each other. Through their first heartbreak, to their stupid decisions. To being each other's first person to come out to, and know that no matter what anyone else said, they'd have each other's backs. From the petty fights they had, they always came back and apologized, to the nights where they'd travel to upper state New York and just star gaze in the middle of the woods while getting overly drunk and sharing each other's secrets and troubles. Get away from the city and others, and just talk. The two of them. So when Soren just upped and left with his band, leaving the East coast and going to the other side of the country, without a word. She had experienced pain and depression, but that was what did her in. Leaving her without a word, no explanation. Nothing. Not even a simple, I'm sorry, which would have sufficed. Hell, even a simple postcard to know he even thought about her would have been enough. But she got radio silence for years. And not just from Soren, but everyone else. Even Nate. She felt like she had been taken advantage of, and as such she began to become more closed off and reserved as the years went on. Seeing how everyone seemed to forget about her, she simply tried to not care. But she couldn't. It hurt because she cared too much, and tried to act like it didn't affect her. Act like nothing ever got to her, and pretended everything was okay. Even if she did spend years wondering what she did wrong. What had she done to make everyone leave? Was she not worth keeping around? Was she simply being used for her kindness and being there to lean on by others? Probably, but she did whatever she had to, to keep her friends together, even if it was just to keep them in her life and to know she was actually cared for by them still.

It was only when the others reached out over time, first it was Nate. He needed a place to go and a roof over his head, and seeing how after the years went on she had her own place, she let him sleep on her couch for the first few weeks. She promised him no matter what she wouldn't kick him out on the street as she knew how that was, and how bad a life like that was. They lived together for about six months when Erin had finally asked if he wanted a job. After more or less demanding he took the spot she was offering, they lived together for a few more months before he moved out and moved in with a group of friends. Having him work for her was one of the ways she could guarantee he'd stay around, and he proved to be a good worker, even if he needed a little motivation sometimes. All that mattered was that she had one semblance of normalcy again. One person, she knew she could trust to have her back, everything was gonna be okay. Eventually, Soren reached out again. At first she was hesitant due to not knowing the real reason for him reaching out to her. But after a small exchange of words, they promised to just move on and forget about it. That it wasn't that big of a deal. Even if it wasn't entirely true. His leaving hurt her more than anyone else, even Rebecca. But she refused to dwell on that.

But now, now she stood in a room with everyone back again. In one room, excluding one individual. She pushed her thoughts out of her mind as reality set in. With the mix of people yelling at Kyle, and telling him to leave, to everyone yelling at her, it was all a blur. One moment she was telling Soren to fuck off, telling her how she felt about everything. That everything that happened had hurt her, far too much. She could have said it any other time, and maybe she should have. But a match was lit, the gas have been poured, and it was only a matter of time until everything was set alight. And before she could catch a single ember, everything was set on fire as Soren stumbled backward from her shove, mumbling under his breath as he struggled to say sorry, and fell. Collapsing onto the floor. Erin watched in silence for a few seconds for any movement. After nothing happened, she rolled her eyes. He was always one for pulling things and over exaggerating. She looked around as the others quickly jumped into action, kneeling by his side. Erin nudged him with her foot, speaking up after a moment as her voice cleared and her tears were dry. "Wake the fuck up, you over dramatic bitch ass. It's not funny, Soren." she said rather harshly. But after a few minutes, she knew something wasn't right. From the way he had been acting a few moments prior, or more so the whole time. Something was off, so very off and not right. Erin quickly moved past the others, kneeling down next to him as genuine fear and worry overcame him. "Soren, c'mon." she said as she nudged him by the shoulder. Everything went silent as she only heard two words come from Lex. Everything else fell silent as the reality of the situation hit her.

"Overdose."

Just that one word, and everything came crashing down on her at once. It wasn't right, right? Soren wouldn't have done this...right? Besides, he only had a few drinks, or at least that's what she was aware of. She didn't think that a few drinks that she made would have been that much to knock him on his ass, not this hard anyway. It was when a few other ramblings came by and registered. A mixture of words went in and came out without a thought, but the ones that hit her were, overdose and medication. Everything froze in that moment. It wasn't possible, Soren wasn't on any medication, at least she wasn't aware until she looked up, seeing those all too familiar bottles on the counter. Fuck..., she thought to herself. She rifled through her jacket's pockets, trying to find them. If they were even there. Horror struck when her hands grazed through the interior of her pockets, nothing feeling anything that even resembled her own medication bottles. Only a lighter, a pack of gum and her phone. She froze in place, she knew she came with her medication in her pockets. She knew full well, she didn't go anywhere without them. So, where did they go? She wanted to move, to just get up and look for them. She had to find them. No one could know. Not now. Not in a time like this. Not after...Not this. She wasn't able to move how hard she tried. Her body just wouldn't move. Everything was frozen in place and anchored to the ground, her hand gripping Soren's arm. That all too familiar burning began forming behind her eyes as everything finally hit her like a brick wall. Why? Why would he...Why would he do this? He promised, no matter what, that he wouldn't. He wouldn't take the easy way out, not after everything that they'd bee through. And not after the time she told him that she had made a mistake...So, why now? She didn't know what came first, the waterfall of tears as she begged and pleaded with Soren to wake up, to be fine and not let this be the reality.

Her voice cracked and shattered, barely above a whisper as she yelled, pleaded, begged for him to just wake up. Wake up and call her an asshole. Let her know that she went too far, that she was wrong. Hell, blame everything on her, tell her everything was her fault. Anything at all. Just don't let this be the reality for them. Not like this. She didn't know what happened next, or hear anything as that soft, dull and numbing ring echoed throughout her head. All she knew was that she was pulled away from Soren as other came into the apartment, taking him away as she was sat down somewhere else. Everything was just a blank slate, as she sat there in silence. Not moving, not saying a thing. Her eyes were anchored down where Soren had been, and just stared. Her knuckles turned white as her face went from red and tear-stained, to pale as a ghost. Erin sat there, in an unmoving anchored state. She had done this. She did this to Soren. She yelled at him, told him to fuck off, and only pushed him away. She was responsible for this, for everything. And now, now she was responsible for everything that had happened. Everything was her fault, and she couldn't explain why. She couldn't tell them the truth about what happened at Lauren's party, and what happened there, and she couldn't tell anyone of what she did here. Everything was just one big, fucked up mistake. And it was her fault. She'd have to live with the fact that she had hurt two people she once called friends. No matter how hard she tried, no matter what she did, it was all her fault and she'd have to accept it. Erin sat there in complete silence, unmoving as she wasn't able to regain her composure, nothing would take her out of her current state. Not that she wanted to, she was responsible for the possible murder of her friend, and she didn't know how she was supposed to live with herself...








Agent Kyle Monahan
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outfit : herex|xhex: #063A67
xxxBut I know some day I'll make it out of here
xxxEven if it takes all night or a hundred years
xxxNeed a place to hide, but I can't find one near
xxxWanna feel alive, outside I can fight my fear
Everything had happened so fast, and everything was an ultimate nightmare. He shouldn't have been there. He should have stayed at the station and continued on with his report with the investigation. They had no major leads or any proper concrete evidence to point themselves in the right direction. Everything they had was simply circumstantial and speculation for what happened that night at Lauren Clark's party. All they had known for certain, was that Lauren Clark was murdered sometime before midnight, her cause of death was known, and who the suspects were was everyone at the party. That was unless the killer had escaped and left the apartment before getting caught. Their only reasoning for ruling that out, was the all the tension and bad blood in the group. Their history, which Kyle knew far too much came into the investigation. And it just felt wrong. Knowing what he had to do, and what he wanted to do were two entirely different things. But now, now he was in the middle of an all out argument, which he half blocked out as his brain went into lockdown mode. A self-preservation mode he created for himself as a way of dealing with trauma and anything of that nature. It was one of the few things that him and Erin both shared, mainly from their past experiences with their own parents and upbringing, to his own disorder, as well as Erin's. He was only brought back down to earth when suddenly, a loud and demanding voice broke the silence.

Alexander had yelled for everyone to shut up and listen up. Blinking back into reality, Kyle looked over to see what the commotion was. His eyes widened with horror. Soren had fallen and was lying on the ground with a slowly overgrowing group of people crowding around him. At first he wasn't certain about what happened, not until Lex and Nate began searching Soren over and came to a conclusion. Overdose. That was all it took. Kyle immediately went into action, pushing his way through the crowd, kneeling next to Lex and Nate as they told him to do something. He was a cop, right? So he must have a way of helping, even getting to a hospital faster if he could. He silently looked at Lex for a moment, trying to compose himself as he tried to formulate his words properly. His eyes never meeting Lex's as he spoke, only to be looking just past him. "Yeah...yeah...I....I have someone outside who...who can get him there...there...there faster." he stuttered, fumbling over his words. One of the few things he never overcame was his stutter, especially under overtly stressful situations. Kyle immediately got to his feet, taking out his phone and speed dialing Cass. His call with her was brief as he tried explaining the situation to her, only saying that they'd need a ride to the hospital and that they'd need to lights and siren to get there.

Kyle immediately looked around, trying to figure out what to do. He knew full well they'd be able to get him there, but he'd have to stay back here and look into things. Gather clues on what happened and ask people what they saw, if anything. All over again. He knew this group was trouble, but god damn he never thought they'd possibly be involved in two potential homicides. He watched as people helped lift Soren and carry him out, a few of the others leaving as they'd be going to the hospital with him. Kyle looked around and his eyes landed back on Lex, "The car with the sirens is where my partner is waiting. Just help Soren inside and she'll take them there." he said quickly, his eyes glancing about the room. Now was his time to act, and do what he did best. But first, his eyes landed on one more person, and he felt his heart leap into his throat. Erin had been moved to a corner of the room, where she sat in silence. He knew simply by the look on her face that she was disassociating, and by what had happened and had been said, he knew it would be hard to get her to saw anything of importance. He walked over to her and knelt in front of her, gently cupping her hands in his. "Erin, I know you can hear me, so I don't expect you to say anything. But just listen, and do your best to tell me." he said softly, feeling his eyes begin to burn. She was always there for him in his episodes, rarely ever having to be there for her. But now, now he had to do something. And as much as he hated this, he knew he had to. "When..When was the last time you took your meds? And I don't mean whenever this happens, I mean actually took them when you were supposed to?" he questioned, his voice was sturdy and sure, but held some sense of sadness and genuine worry. He studied her face over, knowing full well the answer already. "Did you bring them with you?" he questioned. He waited for her to reply. Not with words, but with her hands and body language. He knew how to communicate, simply ask questions and wait for a physical reaction. Her eyes never left the floor, but her fingers tapped to a rhythm he knew all too well. It was a sign of saying yes in morse code, or better yet their own version they had. He nodded as he slowly stood up, gently squeezing her hands as he turned. He examined the rooms, and seeing two small bottles of medication on the counter.

Kyle eyed them, seeing how they were both closed. He searched more, coming across another one in a separate room. Eyeing the container, it was slightly open. The name on the bottle caused some alarm, for why was it in his room when...When it should have been in...He shook his head, picking up the small orange bottle he stuffed it into his pocket and walked back over to Erin, placing the small bottle in her jacket's pocket. He looked at her, moving close by her ear as he spoke, "Thank me later." he said lowly. He turned back around, reaching into the pocket of his jacket as he removed two latex gloves. He'd have to look for something, any real sign of what he expected was foul play...Or, what everyone was thinking. Overdose, and that Soren had done it to himself, which...Considering everything that had happened, he wouldn't be surprised if Soren resorted to that. But for now, he had a murder case, and now a possible suicide case on his hands. And neither of the options were looking good, nor was the suspect list.






Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: Cassandra Heiks
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SOREN BOWERS
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outfit : herex|xhex: #575772
xxxsomewhere in between
xxxwho i used to be
xxxand who i'll be tomorrow
xxxwhen the champagne blows my mind

xxx
Soren didn’t feel anything after he hit the floor. There was no blinding light, no burning flames, no life flashing before his eyes. It was just… nothingness. And then bit by bit, sensation started to seep back in. It started with pain, an awful, dull ache that seemed to gradually spread throughout his whole body. Unfamiliar voices started to filter through, saying words that didn’t seem to make any sense. The overwhelming, almost nauseating hospital smell of antiseptic and the sensation of latex gloves against his skin.

“Come on, let me see it,” Erin begged as the tattoo artist declared he was finished. Soren leaned back slightly so she could see the geometric design on his wrist. She laughed and shook her head. “You’re such a freaking nerd. Like, the treble clef? Could you get any more stereotypical?” She teased. “I’m sorry miss ‘let’s get a tattoo right now!’ I didn’t exactly get much of a chance to put all that much thought into it,” he retorted as he pulled on his jacket. “Couldn’t have you chickening out of your birthday present now, could I?” Erin said with a grin. It took Soren a moment to realise what she’d said, but he wrapped her in a hug once he did. “Eugh, you’re such a nerd. Come on, we’re going for ramen.”

A panicked voice, cutting through for just a moment. “He’s crashing-“

He shouldn’t have driven himself here, he knew that. There was adrenaline pounding through his veins and his hands were still shaking. He’d had to blink back tears more than once to make sure he could still see the road in front of him. Sure, he’d thought it was strange that he hadn’t heard from her in a few days, but he’d been working double shifts, then playing shows on his days off, and arguing with Lauren whenever he had time to breathe. But the guilt of not even having known things were that bad had left him shaking, and he wasn’t going to let it happen again. Erin was waiting for him just inside the door of the clinic, looking tired, small, and far, far too pale. He ran to meet her and wrapped her in a bear hug, refusing to let go. “You don’t ever do that to me again, you hear?” He whispered, forcing himself to blink away the tears. “You don’t get to leave me like that. I’m not leaving you alone again.” She said something, possibly an apology, but he didn’t care. He’d nearly lost her, and he wasn’t letting her go like that.

Light started flickering through next, just for a moment or two. And then there was someone calling his name. “Can you hear me?” The voice stayed talking, and Soren thought he managed to answer at least one of the questions, but he was still far too groggy to speak, and he slipped back into unconsciousness.

It was finally happening. His heart had been pounding ever since it had happened. Ever since they’d showed up to that first meeting, ever since they’d been handed the contract, every single meeting since. Because he kept waiting for something to happen, for something to fall through again. But here he was, getting ready to leave for his flight. It didn’t feel like it could be happening to him. It felt like a pleasant dream in the middle of the nightmare. His hand hovered over his phone momentarily. He’d lost count of the amount of times that he’d gone to text Erin to tell her, or to send her a picture of his plane ticket, or annoy her about something. And every time, he remembered. Remembered that she’d known that the night with Lex hadn’t been the first time. And she’d said nothing. Then his phone buzzed with a notification to say his Uber was outside. He grabbed his bag and cases and headed down to the car, shoving his phone into his pocket without a second thought.

“Soren? Soren, can you hear me?” This time, the doctor’s voice was clearer, the light was brighter, and the pain was worse. But he felt more conscious, felt more aware of his surroundings. He was able to answer the doctor’s questions. Yes, he knew where he was, he was in the hospital. His memories of what had happened were vague. His memories from Nate’s arrival onwards were severely foggy, but he knew he’d passed out. The doctor said something about some of her colleagues from another team coming to see him in the morning.

“But,” she said with a small smile. “We’ve some people who are very eager to see you. Are you feeling well enough to see them?” She asked. He didn’t even need to ask who they were. He just swallowed a little nervously and nodded.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rebecca Cruze Character Portrait: Erin Monahan Character Portrait: Kyle Monahan Character Portrait: Soren Bowers Character Portrait: Nathan Miller Character Portrait: Alexander Yang Character Portrait: Khepri Mahajan Character Portrait: The New Rebecca Character Portrait: Cassandra Heiks
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N a t h a n Miller
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outfit - #D6CF13
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One moment there was yelling, pleading, crying and panic; then Soren was taken to the hospital, leaving everyone that hadn’t gone with him to pick up the pieces. Or at least try to make sense of it all. It was eerily quiet, Nate thought, almost like everyone was afraid to speak. As if using their voices would break some sort of seal and unleash a curse upon them all, or maybe just make them look guilty of something.

Eventually (though it was probably only a few minutes), Kyle had to ask some questions to everyone who’d been in attendance. It was pretty standard, and Nate volunteered first. He recounted everything he remembered since arriving; looking back, he once again felt like he should have seen some of the signs sooner. He and Soren had never been close, but even Nate knew that Soren was acting strange. When Kyle was finished with his questions, Nate went and settled down next to Erin.

Neither of them said anything, and that was fine; Nate didn’t sit down beside her to have a conversation. Erin had done a lot for him, and he didn’t know how to express how much it meant to him, so he settled on trying his best to be there for her. He hadn’t always been good about that in the past, he’d often let himself get so absorbed in his own problems (whether that be money problems, parent problems, or what have you) that he didn’t think to reach out to make sure his friends weren’t struggling, too. As a child, he’d learned to ignore problems to survive. The less you confront your problems (and the problems of other’s, by extension), the less trouble you end up in. This… Had not carried into adulthood, but it was an old habit that was increasingly hard to bury.

He looked around the apartment while they sat: it was a mess, but everywhere seemed to get that way after a party, even just a dinner party. Kyle eventually sent everyone out, told them to go home, try to get some rest. That was good advice, and Nate tried to take it, but he felt so useless. He knew that what he was feeling was normal, but he just wanted to do something, to help in some way. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep, and sitting around waiting was going to drive him insane.

Maybe the waiting was too difficult, maybe it was Nate trying to prove that he wasn’t as useless as he felt, or maybe it was the knowledge that he wouldn’t want a mess to clean up after being rushed to the hospital; but Nathan found himself sending out a few messages, getting back into Soren’s place, and cleaning up a bit. He didn’t do anything dramatic: mostly just threw out trash, washed dishes. He didn’t know where things went, and trying to figure it out felt like snooping, so he stuck to simple things, and figured leaving things out to dry wouldn’t hurt anything. At least there wouldn’t be rotting food sitting in the sink for someone to deal with. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than nothing, and better than nothing was what Nate did best.

After a while he made his way to the hospital, most everyone else was there, just waiting. Waiting for news, or for Soren to wake up, or whatever. Nate hated hospitals. He’d been in plenty as a kid, but he hadn’t stepped foot in one in years. The waiting was always the worst. Waiting for news, for the doctor, for an x-ray, for the social worker to come and ask a few questions. He had to remind himself that he wasn’t a kid, anymore. This wasn’t his visit. They wouldn’t ask him questions, and even if they did, answering honestly held no consequence. Not this time. He didn’t really keep track of how long he sat around waiting: he spent the time fiddling with the apps on his phone, or listening to the others. He didn’t have a lot of thoughts to share, and they wouldn’t be helpful, anyway. He felt the collective weight off everyone’s shoulders when they heard they could see Soren, though. That meant that things were going to be okay. Maybe not for certain, and maybe not for forever, but for the moment, everything seemed okay.

It didn’t take long for everyone to gather up their things and start heading down the labyrinth of halls, doors, and desperation. Ultimately, their path led to hope... At least, Nathan hoped it did.

When they reached the door, a sudden nervousness hit Nate. He didn’t belong here, not really. He and Soren weren’t close. He suddenly felt like he’d been horribly overstepping this entire time, and hung back just a bit, waving everyone else into the room ahead of him. When he finally entered the room, he hovered in the back, near the door. He offered Soren a smile, but it didn’t quite come out right. He’d meant it as a reassuring gesture, but instead it looked (and felt) awkward, maybe a little strained. He pretty quickly dropped his gaze to the floor, almost as if being noticed could hurt him. He hated hospitals, and he didn’t know what to say. ‘Hey man, glad you didn’t die,’ didn’t quite feel like the right thing to say, even if it was what he felt, so he opted to stay quiet. Maybe someone else could word his feelings more appropriately. Or just in a way that was more palatable. Or maybe they wouldn’t, and that would be okay. Everything didn’t need to be spoken aloud to be true.