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Welcome to Adulthood

New York

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a part of Welcome to Adulthood, by Lvdwilt2000.

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Lvdwilt2000 holds sovereignty over New York, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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New York

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New York is a part of Welcome to Adulthood.

17 Characters Here

Jaydon Anderson [73] "I've done things I'm not proud of, but that doesn't mean you can use those against me."
Hayley Michelle Montgomery [66] "I am a mom. Nothing more just being the best mom I can be."
Jane Anderson [50] "I'd rather stay home, looking hidious while I talk to random strangers on Tumblr."
Benjamin Masters [32] Being an adult is a life sentence, so let's get started.
Francesca Cavalcanti [31] A lively club/party promoter searching for the special something, or someone, missing in her life.
Seth Lucas [24] Capture the moment
Gabriel Barron [18] WIP
Madison Jameson [13] The new girl on the block!
Carrie Harmon [13] Do I really need to grow up?

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Character Portrait: Seth Lucas Character Portrait: Madison Jameson
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Madison was shocked to find how nice this male was being to her. Most of the time the first person she ever seems to run into anywhere is a complete jerk. But she just smiled and watched as he called over some help to get the boxes out of her car. Well, if she knew about all of this, her moving would have been done by now. Though in a way she was glad that she hadn't noticed it or she might not have had the pleasure to meet Seth.

As she listened to him answering her question she nodded her head. She couldn't believe that he had spent four years living in an apartment. Honestly if this were up to her, she would never step foot into an apartment. Everyone just lives too close to each other and most of the time you hardly have any privacy. But it was something she was willing to deal with. Just to get out from underneath her parent's roof.

"Well, I just think it was a way for my parents to get rid of me. They always thought of me as being a down right pain in the ass. They paid for the apartment before telling me about it and practically kicked me out on my ass and yes, I've always lived in New York. Born and raised in Brooklyn."

Madison smiled as they made it to her apartment, she unlocked her door and pushed it open as she listened to Seth speaking to her. She turned her full attention to him as he finished. She couldn't help but feel a little flustered when he went to write his number on her hand. Though in a way she didn't mind it at all. This was a very nice guy and maybe they could form a great friendship. At times like this, she really needed some friends so it wouldn't be a bad thing.

She watched as Seth walked backwards, welcoming her to the building again. She waved at him just before he turned around and went on his way. She then sighed as she noticed the help bringing her the rest of her boxes. "Thanks, just leave them here and I can take care of the rest," she stated as she began bringing the boxes into her apartment.

Madison finally finished lugging her boxes inside and decided that it was time for a cigarette before starting to unpack everything. As she reached for her purse and slung it over her shoulder, she happened to glance down at her hand, finding Seth's number. She smiled and pulled her phone out of her purse and entered the number into her phone so she would be sure she truly had the number somewhere she wouldn't lose it. The brunette slid her phone back inside her purse and tucked her hair behind her ears as she stepped out of the apartment, locking the door behind her.

She stopped in front of the elevators and pressed one of the buttons, waiting on the doors to open. She crossed her arms in front of her chest as she waited. A few seconds later she stepped into the elevator and went on her way down to the lobby then out the doors. She pulled her pack of Marlboro Menthols out of her purse and lit one up as she leaned against the brick wall, taking a long drag from the cigarette.

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Character Portrait: Francesca Cavalcanti Character Portrait: Benjamin Masters
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As she gently twisted back in forth on the bar stool to the muffled beat of the bass, Francesca waited. She had no clue what to expect from Ben, his question could be completely silly or it could possibly be something serious.


"Okay, first question. What is your favorite sleepwear? And be descriptive."

Francesca's eyebrows popped up and her eyes widen a bit at the mention of sleepwear, and after Ben added in the "be descriptive" at the end of his question she couldn't help but giggle while sitting up and leaning in towards Ben.
"Hmm, what if I said nothing?"
She'd let her comment percolate in the air for a few seconds before gently smacking him on the knee. "I'm only kidding...unless the power goes out and it's incredibly hot outside."

After a quick wink Francesca leaned back and rubbed her hands together as she took a moment to think about the question before answering.
"Well I love lace, and I absolutely adore silk-satin. So anything from Victoria Secret that's made with Silk or Silk-Satin, and has some lace on there, I'm in love."
The bartender suddenly came over and asked if the two of them needed anything, and Francesca would turn and respond with a kind "No, thank you" before gazing back towards Ben.
"Now in terms of a description, I hate to disappoint you but women don't go to sleep in teddy's or bra and thong sets every night - as much as you men might like us to. Typically I sleep in red silk-satin pj shorts with a tank, or a sleeveless sleep shirt....and nothing else."
A cheeky grin was plastered on Francesca's face as she switched which leg crossed over the other and pointed towards the remaining glasses. "Your turn, and I so hope it's Vodka"

Watching closely as Benjamin shuffled than chose between the shot glasses Francesca jokingly crossed her fingers as he downed his drink.
"Sorry to disappoint, but this was clearly water"'
A sigh would escape Francesca's lips as she shook her head in disbelief.
"The board is all yours, milady"


Instead of closing her eyes this time Francesca simply looked far enough over her shoulder to insure she couldn't see anything as she shuffled the glasses.

"Come on water!" she teased, before picking up a class and quickly downing it.
"Damn." she muttered, before clearing her throat and dropping the glass back on the bar.

"Okay, apparently this is the 'Ask Francesca whatever you'd like as you get her tipsy' game, because once again - I got Vodka."


Before Ben could ask his second question Francesca would wave the bartender over and kindly ask him to dump the shot glasses out. Once he returned the four empty glasses she would take two away and only fill one with vodka and only one with water.

"Okay only two next time, lets see how lucky you really are! But first, ask away....I'm ready."
Francesca loosely crossed her arms over her chest in anticipation for Ben's 2nd question, all while smiling - something she noticed she had been doing quite a lot of throughout the evening.

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Character Portrait: Francesca Cavalcanti Character Portrait: Benjamin Masters
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He knew that a question like this was maybe pushing the boundaries a bit, especially since they only met a few hours ago. He didn't know what to expect from her. Would she dodge the question? Would she slap him in he face? Or would she become red in the face of shyness or embarrassment? Ben started regretting asking just that question. Why the hell didn't I just ask her favourite movie or something? Whatever was gonna come, he was prepared for the worst because of his own stupid mistake.

Her reaction was surprising. "Hmm, what if I said nothing?"
Wow, that was certainly not what I expected. He got the feeling all the blood in his body was directed at his cheeks. Okay, my cheeks plus one other certain body part... Before Ben could reply Francesca smacked him on the knee and continued. "I'm only kidding...unless the power goes out and it's incredibly hot outside."
With that it seemed Ben started breathing again, which somehow had stopped after her first reaction. I could actually use a shot of Vodka right about now.

"Well I love lace, and I absolutely adore silk-satin. So anything from Victoria Secret that's made with Silk or Silk-Satin, and has some lace on there, I'm in love. Now in terms of a description, I hate to disappoint you but women don't go to sleep in teddy's or bra and thong sets every night - as much as you men might like us to. Typically I sleep in red silk-satin pj shorts with a tank, or a sleeveless sleep shirt....and nothing else."
Her second reaction was possibly way more sexy than the first suggestion. To be honest, anything Ben could imagine her in would be pretty awesome. His question actually turned out better than he could have hoped.

After acknowledging that he had been the lucky drinker he saw a glimpse of disappointment in her eyes. Did she already know what she wanted to ask? As he saw Francesca shuffling the last glasses he wished her a quick "Good luck."
Apparently neither his good luck wishes nor her crossed fingers helped, as she again chose the wrong glass. He felt a bit sorry that she was having all he bad luck in this game. Maybe he shouldn't go so hard on her this time. Francesca took two of the glasses away and gave him a 50% chance for his next shot, before he could even ask his question. "Okay only two next time, lets see how lucky you really are! But first, ask away....I'm ready."

"Okay, so maybe a bit more innocent... Name the one dish that you had once in your life, and always wanted again, but could never find." This question could never be too raunchy, it seemed appropriate enough and on top of that it was about one of the things he loves most, food.

Waiting for her answer he looked at the two remaining shots in front of him. He shuffled them with his eyes closed, but even before he opened them he already had a strong feeling the water was on the right side. He didn't know for a fact, but he ha a very strong feeling. He still felt bad that he had won the first two rounds. So he went with his instinct and chose the right glass. In one smooth movement he put the glass to his lips and swallowed the liquid in one quick second. He knew he was right when he felt the slight burning in the back of his throat. "You got me this time. Good Vodka by the way..., and you've been lucky enough to already have two of these. All of a sudden I have a feeling you were winning this game all this time."

He looked forward to his question. He was at a point in life where he was not so terribly ashamed any more that he didn't even finish high school. And as honest as she had been so far, he would do his best to answer her question as thoroughly as he could.

After her question he changed the rules of the game. He gave the shot glass filled with water back to the bartender while leaving the Vodka shot. "Okay, next game. I'll tell you 2 true and 1 false statement. If you can identify the false one, I drink. If you pick one of the true statements, you drink. We keep going until the false statement is identified." He nodded at her to make sure she understood the rules. "Okay, I'll start. Statement 1: I have 1 younger sister. Statement 2: I learned to play guitar from my father. Statement 3: my band chose the name 'the Indoor Kites' over my idea, 'the Electric Rubber Bands'." He was curious to see what her first guess would be.

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Character Portrait: Seth Lucas Character Portrait: Madison Jameson
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Madison sighed as she died her cigarette out and dropped it into the trashcan as she noticed the sky beginning to drop little pellets of water down to the ground. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and stepped back into the building and headed over to the elevator. Madison pressed the button and stood there waiting for the doors to open and stepped inside. She pressed the button for her floor and stood in the elevator. She was never one very fond of elevators, but it was better than climbing about a hundred stairs just to get to her apartment. The elevator dinged before the doors opened, allowing her to step out into the hallway. She followed the hall down to her apartment door and dug in her purse, looking for her key. She found it in the bottom of her purse and unlocked her door before stepping inside, dropping her purse on top of one of the boxes.

Madison sighed as she plopped down on the couch. This was going to be a long night. Especially since she wanted to get all the packing done so she would at least be able to get her advice column done tomorrow before her deadline. She really wished she would have some help with everything. At that point she remembered Seth. She pulled out her phone, hoping he hadn't given her a wrong number or something. She sighed as she texted him, "Hey Seth, It's Madison. I know you're probably busy right now but I was wondering if you would be able to have some time to come over and help me unpack some time tonight. I have a lot to get done and it would be a great help," she typed before hitting send and standing to her feet.

The female tucked her bangs behind her ears and slid her phone into her pocket before reaching for her radio and plugging it in. She turned the radio on, being sure to keep it to a volume that wouldn't disturb her neighbors and started to unpack. As she did this, she danced around, trying to make it a little fun. As time passed she found herself beginning to get hungry and since she hadn't had any food in the apartment yet, she decided to order takeout. Madison pulled her phone back out of her pocket and dialed in the number to the pizza parlor and ordered a pizza with a couple bottles of soda and hung up before getting back to unpacking.

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Character Portrait: Seth Lucas Character Portrait: Madison Jameson
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Seth somehow found himself whistling while waiting for the subway. He had a pretty good evening and a damned good morning behind him. He was in a good mood, and he could use it right now. After leaving the Connection he had to make his way to a shoot. He had worked with this particular model before, and it hadn't been a very nice experience. Working with models had given him a fair amount of patience through the years. He had seen the drunk, the over-confident, the perfectionists, the undeserving and the mentally unstable. The one he was going to deal with this day was a fresh combination of all of these with a double dosage of mentally unstable.

Half an hour later he walked on to the little set they were going to occupy for the next few hours. He wasn't the first to show up, but there were less than 5 people so far. The producer gave Seth a glimpse of the wish list of the model in question. Seth didn't even know blue Maltesers was a thing, but it was on there. Of course she had to be fashionably late and had to throw a fit for the first 10 minutes, but after that they were finally ready to start.

Seth knew the rest of the crew and had worked with all of them before. It had been a silent understanding that they all wanted this to be over as soon as possible. He winked at the make up artist who quickly and professionally prepared the model. In about 10 minutes Seth had taken about 100 pictures without interruption. After that, the model went with the hair stylist to set up for the second part of the shoot. Seth prepared his second camera for the second part of the shoot, while the producer was helping the set designer. After a mere 15 minutes they were all ready to go again. The model had very limited fits to through in this hurried shoot, and Seth was able to get some great photo's out of all of this.

An hour and a few set changes later the day work was done. Or at least the photo shoot itself. Seth still had to develop the pictures before sending them to the producer, the next day. For all the complaints he had about the model, she had been doing an outstanding job today. He thanked her with a quick hug and told her, "See you next time." He said goodbye to the rest of the crew and went on his way home. He actually had some time left, and the weather wasn't all too bad, so he decided to skip the subway and walk home.

Back in his apartment he threw his jacket over the couch and immediately stepped into his darkroom. He thought it was best to get the developing out of the way, maybe he could even bring by the photo's to the producer. He was about 10 minutes on the way when he felt the insides of his pocket vibrate slightly. He stepped out of the darkroom and took the phone out of his pocket. He didn't recognize the number, but realized who it was after reading the message.

Hey Seth, It's Madison. I know you're probably busy right now but I was wondering if you would be able to have some time to come over and help me unpack some time tonight. I have a lot to get done and it would be a great help,

He thought about it for a moment. The producer wasn't really expecting the photo's to be done tonight. If he just worked for half an hour longer he could leave the pictures to dry overnight. He texted her back.

Sure, I'll be there in 30 minutes :-)

In the next 15 minutes he finished most of the work he had left. The second batch would have to wait for tomorrow morning. He grabbed a quick shower and afterwards changed into something easy. He took a pair of jeans and a simple T-shirt. Unpacking in a suit wouldn't be very practical, now would it... When ready he left the apartment and took the elevator a few floors down. He knocked on the door he had left Madison at a couple of hours earlier. To his surprise he door opened upon his knock, it hadn't been properly closed. He stared into a mostly empty apartment. Some boxes here and there, and in the middle of it, Madison. She was dancing while unpacking one of the boxes. Seth knocked on the doorpost as to make his presence known. "I don't know if I should start unpacking or ask you to dance?"

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Character Portrait: Seth Lucas Character Portrait: Madison Jameson
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Madison felt her phone vibrating in her pocket about a minute later and read over the text. Sure, I'll be there in 30 minutes :-) She smiled and just slid her phone back into her pocket and continued to unpack. By the time Seth actually arrived she wasn't even a third of the way finished. If it weren't for her parents buying her a bunch of stuff for her apartment that she didn't even really need, she would have been done by now and wouldn't need the help. But Madison just dealt with what her parents bought her and figured she mind as well kept it. They spent a lot of money on everything and it would upset them if she were to send everything back.

As Madison was dancing and unpacking, she was interrupted by a familiar voice asking, "I don't know if I should start unpacking or ask you to dance?" Madison jumped a bit, slightly started and turned towards the male, finding Seth standing there. She giggled a bit and shrugged her shoulders, "Both maybe?" she responded with a soft smirk. At that moment she spotted the delivery guy standing behind him. She retrieved the money from her purse and stepped over to the door, standing in front of Seth, "I have to pay for the pizza," she stated to him, waiting for him to move out the way enough for her to pay for the food and bring it back into the apartment.

She closed the door with her hip, this time being sure the door was closed all the way and set the food down on her coffee table. "Would you like something to eat?" she questioned as she pulled out the paper plates from a grocery bag and sat down on the couch. She opened the box and placed a couple pieces of the pizza on her plate and filled her cup with some Dr. Pepper. The aroma of the food made her stomach growl and all she could manage to do was laugh a bit.

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Character Portrait: Jane Anderson
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After Jane left the apartment, almost sure she wouldn't be seeing those two until morning, she decided to go back down to the event. It was really late at night, but she could still smell the food and hear the laughter from upstairs. The elevator beckoned her, as she wasn't really in the mood to walk down a bunch of flights of stairs.

There was one guy in the elevator. He was a young man who was holding a little boy, most likely his son. The boy was nearly asleep snuggled to the mans chest. Unfortunantly, the ding of the elevator as she walked in must have woke him up, and he lifted his head to her.

"Hey, you're the table lady!" he exclaimed lazily. "The lady who was hiding under the table. Hi!"

The father gave her a look, and Jane blushed. Usually in these awkward situations like this, she'd ramble aimlessly until she was embarrassed even more. This time was no different.

"Um, I'm not crazy! I was just under the table spying on my brother and his girlfriend, waiting for them to leave so I could break into her apartment." Her eyes widened as she actually heard the words coming out of her mouth. "Um, not in a creepy stalker way! It's her birthday and I was in charge of decorating for a surprise my brother made up. I am not, nor have I ever been a stalker! She laughed nervously, tugging on the end of her sweater. "I'm Jane. Jane Anderson.

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Character Portrait: Francesca Cavalcanti Character Portrait: Benjamin Masters
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Pleasantly surprised by Ben's question Francesca would take a minute and multiple sips of her beer before coming up with an answer. "A dish I've had before and have always wanted again but couldn't find...tough question. But, I remember several years ago when I was still heavy into dancing, I performed for a couple weeks with a girl from Moldova. She made this dessert called Woodpile Cake for a few us girls and it was absolutely delicious. But after that I could never find it again - anywhere. I found half-ass American interpretations, but never the traditional dish....such a pity"
Francesca shrugged her shoulders and sighed a bit before finishing the rest of her beer. An excited smile would appear on her face however as she realized it was finally her turn to ask Ben a question.
She was far from shy, and after Ben's original question she felt even more comfortable with the idea of asking something a bit - risque.
"At last it's my turn to ask you something, I was beginning to think you would be the only one asking the questions here."

Francesca leaned forward a bit before asking her question, all while that smile of hers stayed planted on her face.
"How and where do you like being touched the most? And why?"
Before he could respond she'd quickly look down between his legs and then back up towards his face again. "Besides the obvious choice of course."

.....


She had expected to take her turn next, but instead Ben decided to change the rules of the game - leaving only one Vodka shot on the counter.
"Okay, next game. I'll tell you 2 true and 1 false statement. If you can identify the false one, I drink. If you pick one of the true statements, you drink. We keep going until the false statement is identified."
A smiling Francesca nodded at Ben, signaling she understood the rules, and would listen carefully as Ben started to speak again.
"Okay, I'll start. Statement 1: I have 1 younger sister. Statement 2: I learned to play guitar from my father. Statement 3: my band chose the name 'the Indoor Kites' over my idea, 'the Electric Rubber Bands'."

She couldn't help but laugh at "The Electric Rubber Bands", but Francesca wasn't sure if that was too obvious of a choice. So after a few moments of hemming and hawing she finally settled on an answer.
"Okay, number three seems too obvious, so I'm going to say you're lying about having a younger sister?"


As she waited to see if she'd once again have to take a shot, Francesca heard an announcement come over the intercom downstairs, announcing the arrival of one of her favorite DJ's - Armin Van Buuren.
The announcement put an idea in her head, and once it was her turn to throw out two truths and a lie she decided to make Ben's choice rather easy.

"Mmkay, my turn. Number one, I absolutely adore Armin Van Buuren. Number two, I'd love to dance with New York's resident superhero. Or Number Three - I've been rather lucky with drinking games over the last 24 hours."

Francesca couldn't help but chuckle at her last statement, since it was so obviously a lie, and her hints were anything but subtle.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Francesca Cavalcanti Character Portrait: Benjamin Masters Character Portrait: Seth Lucas Character Portrait: Madison Jameson
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Seth still stood smiling at the door when the pizza delivery guy came up behind him. He moved out of the way on Madison's request, and she paid him for the food. Seth noticed she double checked the door after closing it, making sure not to repeat the same mistake again. "Would you like something to eat?" she asked him.
He was not hungry in the slightest, but in order not to seem rude he grabbed one of the paper plates and took 2 slices for himself. As he sat down next to her on the couch he heard the grumbling stomach of Madison. He looked at her with a smile on his face and she laughed a bit. "Wow, it seems the food got here just in time." He stopped the sentence by giving her a quick wink. He instantly regretted it, as he thought it looked a bit corny.

Seth took two bites out of the pizza slice before putting the plate down. "Okay, this is as good a time to start as any I guess. First things first, is there a box you do not want me to open? Should I stay away from the box marked tools, perhaps?" While waiting for an answer he opened a box called kitchen stuff. Looking inside he immediately got the feeling this box was packed by a mother. Everything sufficiently wrapped to avoid any breaking, everything marked by name, and it wasn't just thrown in there. It was full and everything was supporting the other things in the box.

He took out the stack of plates, each separated by a paper kitchen towel. He took all the paper off, and loosely folded it on the table. He could still here his mother say what she said when Seth was moving out. You can still use these after you unwrap everything... When he moved he had thrown all of them away as soon as he had unwrapped his stuff. This time, however, it wasn't his stuff so he rather kept everything neat and tidy. The stack of plates itself he took to the kitchen and he put them in one of the cupboards. "So, this is a lot of stuff. How long have you've been saving to move out of your parents place?" Walking back to the box he started unwrapping the mugs and glasses carefully. "I also brought a lot of kitchen stuff, but I can assure you in the past 5 years 90% of it hasn't been used. There are just too many nice places around here to get something to eat." He walked back to his paper plate and took another bite of his pizza. With his mouth half full he spoke again to Madison. "Hey, do wu want me to waf all this fuff before I put wem in the cupfoards?" He ha the feeling that the pizza sauce was still on his chin when he asked his question.






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Ben thought about the dish she described. He was a chef for quite a few years, but he had never heard of Woodpile Cake before. If he would ever make her dinner, he would make sure he would learn how to make it. There must be a Moldavian person in New York willing to teach him. When Francesca asked her question it became clear to him that his second careful question had not made her forget his first question. "How and where do you like being touched the most? And why?"

Ben had his answer ready and already took a breath to utter it when Francesca continued. "Besides the obvious choice of course."
Air escaped from his mouth, but no words came with it. She had taken the words from his mouth, and he needed to think what option number 2 would be. Aside from being a risqué question it was also a difficult one. After 15 seconds he thought he had his most honest answer for her. "Being touched ... by girls ... aside from the very obvious place ... my favorite body part would be my neck." He looked her straight in the eyes while answering and noticed once again how beautiful her smile was.
"Oh, and as for the why. It's because it could equally be the most relaxing and the most sexual body part to be touched."

After Ben changed the rules of the game and stated his three options Francesca seemed to think hard about her answer. "Okay, number three seems too obvious, so I'm going to say you're lying about having a younger sister?"
Ben pushed the shot in Francesca's direction with a smile on his face. "Sorry, my sister Penny is definitely real. You were right about the band name though, those bastards chose for something as lame as the Indoor Kites. It almost made me quit the band, I was heart broken. The false statement was me learning guitar from my father, it was actually my grandfather. I did make it a bit difficult, so to make it up I'll take a shot as well."
He poured another shot glass of Vodka and downed it straight away. He noticed the bottle was running empty fast.

All of a sudden he heard a loud cheering from the dance floor, apparently the DJ had arrived. Being a bit distracted by the noise Francesca took the opportunity to give her 3 statements. "Mmkay, my turn. Number one, I absolutely adore Armin Van Buuren. Number two, I'd love to dance with New York's resident superhero. Or Number Three - I've been rather lucky with drinking games over the last 24 hours."
Ben started laughing. "Haha, or number 4, shut up Ben and come dance with me."
He took the last shot on the bar and grabbed her hand. While holding her hand he walked back to the stairs in order to get to the dance floor. Once there he let go of Francesca's hand and started moving towards the music. He was not much of a dancer, but at least the alcohol he had consumed so far made him confident enough to try his best. The smile on his face was a genuine one and he really enjoyed the music. It was fast, loud and at this moment exactly what he was looking for. Looking around he could only feel his smile widen, as he realized he was dancing with not only the prettiest girl, but also the most entertaining one. This turned out to be quite the night for him.

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Character Portrait: Seth Lucas Character Portrait: Madison Jameson
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Madison couldn't help but to chuckle once more when she noticed him giving her a slight wink. She shook her head a bit and took another bite from the pizza as she listened to him speaking, "Okay, this is as good a time to start as any I guess. First things first, is there a box you do not want me to open? Should I stay away from the box marked tools, perhaps?" Madison just shook her head as she stood to her feet and continued to start unpacking again. "No, I have nothing to hide," she answered as she opened another box, finding that it had been a bunch of her books and sketch books. The female carried the box over to her bookshelf and started placing the books on the shelf as she heard him placing dishes in the kitchen.

She could hear him speaking to her from the kitchen. "So, this is a lot of stuff. How long have you've been saving to move out of your parents place?" Madison sighed after hearing the question, but figured she mind as well answered. "I didn't save this stuff up. I guess my parents just wanted to get me out from under their roof so they paid for my apartment and everything in it that I didn't have," she answered as she stood to her feet and turned around, finding that he had been standing in front of the box again starting to unwrap mugs. "I also brought a lot of kitchen stuff, but I can assure you in the past 5 years 90% of it hasn't been used. There are just too many nice places around here to get something to eat." Madison smiled and just nodded her head after hearing his last words.

The brunette went to open another box as she watched him take another bite from his pizza and started talking with his mouth half full, "Hey, do wu want me to waf all this fuff before I put wem in the cupfoards?" Shockingly she was able to understand what he was saying, seeing as how she had lots of practice when her cousins would talk with their mouths full. She laughed a bit as she stepped up to him, noticing the sauce on his face. She gently wiped it off with her thumb then just licked it off her thumb without thinking about it. Madison caught herself doing it and backed up a second, "Um, sorry about that," she started before quickly changing the subject. "Don't worry about washing them. If I use them I'll wash them before hand," she added as she finished off her slice of pizza and sipped from her drink.

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Character Portrait: Francesca Cavalcanti Character Portrait: Benjamin Masters
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Francesca's face lit up the second Ben grabbed her hand and pulled her up from her seat. As the two made their way down the VIP stairs she'd notice Darian catching a glimpse of them - and waved in his direction before quickly disappearing into the crowd on the main floor.

Despite the number of people now crowding around the stage the two of them still managed to push towards the front of the crowd, and as the beat dropped Francesca threw her hands up in the air and swayed to the music.
After several minutes Francesca would look over towards Ben and smile at the fact that he was seemingly having a great time.

"He's amazing isn't he??" she'd say to Ben as she leaned in close to his ear.


Throughout the hour long set Francesca would occasionally wrap her arm around Ben's neck as she jumped along to the music. The smile on her face never left and the adrenaline pumping through her veins kept her at 100% during the entire performance.





It was always amazing to her how quick these hour or two hour long performances flew by, and as Armin closed out the set with a hard fast tempo track she'd notice Darian, Cara Delevingne, and company making their way on stage with a few club staff members.
"Give it up for Armin van Buuren!" announced the Club Manager as soon as the song ended, thrusting his camera high up into the air. "Who wants to be in our picture, let me hear it!!
The crowd went wild as the club's manager had everyone on stage line up in front of the crowd below them for a picture.
Francesca grabbed Ben's hand and once again leaned in close to his ear "How would you like to be in a picture with Armin van Buuren and Cara Delevingne??" she asked with a smirk on her face, before turning and tapping the same security guard who had let her and Ben in originally on the shoulder.
"Hey! We wanna get in on that please!!" she yelled out over the roar of the crowd as she pointed towards the small group of VIPs on stage, and within seconds the guard was helping her over the barrier and onto the stage.
Once on the stage she'd wait for Ben to make his way up before walking over towards Darian - who quickly introduced her to Cara and the rest of his party. But she was far more interested in shaking Armin van Buuren's hand, and as soon as the club Manager made his way on top of the DJ booth to take the picture Francesca made sure to stand in the middle of Armin and Ben - with her arms Armin's neck and Ben's waist.
"On the count of three I wanna see the crowd's hands in the air as we take the best fucking picture of the night!! 1, 2, 3!"

As soon as the picture was snapped the small group on stage let go of one another, and after a few one on one pictures Armin would respectfully excuse himself and the rest of them would make their way off stage. However as soon as they hit crowd-level again Francesca purposely pulled Ben away from Darian and the others - not really in the mood to hobnob with them.

"That was crazy, we have to remember to check their facebook and website for the pictures later." Francesca said as she found herself leaning into Ben. The alcohol, thick air, and exhaustion from jumping around for an hour was getting to her, and as the Manager made the last call over the speakers Francesca was more than happy to oblige. However she couldn't help but chuckle at the way he chose to close out the night:
"You don't have to go home, but you sure have to get the hell out of here!"


"Come on, we can call the car service from outside. No worries about the Vodka tab, that's part of the perks of being a promoter."
The tipsy Francesca smiled as she nudged Ben then held onto his arm with one hand as she pointed to towards the exit with the other.

"I might need you to walk me back to my place, if that's alright with you?" Francesca suggested with a small giggle, as they - and others- where filed out the front doors.

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Character Portrait: Francesca Cavalcanti Character Portrait: Benjamin Masters Character Portrait: Seth Lucas Character Portrait: Madison Jameson
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Seth eyes looked surprised, but his mouth turned into a smile when Madison wiped the sauce of his face and put it in her mouth. He couldn't believe she was so comfortable with him after just knowing each other, what was essentially, a few hours. He took another bite of his pizza and continued with the box he had started already. Beneath the plates and the mugs there were pieces of silverware. They were neatly wrapped in paper towels and taped together in groups of 5. Breaking into Fort Knox is easier than unwrapping this stuff...

He picked up the conversation where it left off. "It certainly seems like your parents were well prepared then. This is a very efficient way of getting you out. What the hell did you do to them?" He could imagine a few things. Different parents were angered by different things, but he didn't want to assume too much. Not everyone had parents such as his, although he didn't know if he was blessed or not. He was wrestling the third packet of silverware and put them in one of the drawers in the kitchen. If he was honest he wasn't doing a bad job. He quickly finished the next three packages and found the box was empty.

He walked back to the rest of the boxes and fished out another one called kitchen. Opening it in the kitchen he once again saw the now familiar motive on the paper towels used to wrap them. The first two layers of the box were filled with storage boxes. Most of them had words explaining the content in nice pretty font. They looked like they were meant for display so he placed them on the counter. There was one for coffee, tea, sugar, rice and pasta. All in all it did look nice the way he had arranged him. It made the apartment look a little bit more homely. Lower in the box he found some standard spices, like salt and pepper. Wow, they even set her up with food products already, they must really want her gone...

The bottom of the box was filled with pans. Since there was little room left in the cupboards he opened the built in oven and stored them there, a little trick he used in his own apartment. Walking back he saw the amount of boxes was shrinking. When he picked up the next one he just knew it had to be books. It was heavier than the other boxes. He took the box and placed it next to the one Madison was emptying. The first thing he took out was a notebook. He couldn't help but go through it a bit and contradicting to his own notebooks, most pages were filled. He handed it to Madison to put it next to the books she had just put in the book case. "Wow, are you a writer?"






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It was truly astounding how fast an hour could go by if you had such a good time. The beats coming from the Dutch DJ were energizing and somehow gave an adrenaline rush greater than the one already in Ben's body. It was strange that they were able to get so close to the stage and still had some room to dance their hearts out. Besides body language their was not much conversation going on during the set. Basically there was one question from Francesca. Ben wanted to reply, but did not see any way to make his voice loud enough. Instead he decided to test her lip reading skills and mouthed: "fucking awesome!"

Through his alcoholic haze there was not much that Ben really noticed. Although he was able to see the constant smile on Francesca's face. Apparently he was not the only one having a great time. He kept his cool and kept on dancing even though the occasional arm around his neck made the blood rush to his face and to one other particular area. He thought she wouldn't notice, red cheeks were kind of mandatory when dancing with this ferocity. Ben did wonder if the arm around his neck had something to do with his answer to the question about where he liked to be touched.

The performance literally ended with a bang and some people unfamiliar to Ben went up the stage as the last song ended. Apparently the VIP status of Francesca entitled them to more than just the private bar. Moving towards the camera they both climbed the stage. The guard helping them out still didn't seem to like Ben very much. Where Francesca was helped onto the stage, Ben could whistle for it. Not a problem my unwilling friend... Ben had no trouble getting up the stage himself and was there about 5 seconds after his companion. She grabbed his hand again and pulled him towards the stars of the evening. Maybe it was because it wasn't his scene, but he had no clue who he was meeting at the moment. A blond girl with blue eyes and dark eyebrows was introduced to him as Cara. Easy on the eyes, although not as much his type as Francesca was.

When he shook the hand of the DJ, Ben shouted a "Thank you!" After all he had given them one hell of a performance. He felt Francesca's arm around his waist when they got ready for the picture. Ben could only think of his friends, and how they would not believe their eyes if they ever got to see this picture. After the group picture Ben did not feel confident enough to take a private picture with Armin. He probably wants to get out of here after working his butt off. He did not stay for long and after a few minutes Francesca dragged him back to the dance floor. Somehow it seemed that she was avoiding some social obligation, something Ben did not mind at all.

Francesca had his arm around his and it seemed she was leaning onto him heavily. Ben did not mind at all, the energy from the performance was still flowing through his body. And after a night like this he felt he could take on the world. Ben was used to the last song 'Closing time' to close of the evening. The club didn't play it, but the message of the man on stage was the same. Together they stumbled outside after she assured him that payment for the bottle of Vodka had been arranged.

"I might need you to walk me back to my place, if that's all right with you?" she giggled to him slightly as she said it. Ben looked at her with a smile on his face. "I'm sure that can be arranged." he told her with a wink.
They waited for the car service to show up after Francesca had requested it. It didn't even take 5 minutes before they showed up. Ben held open the car door and held Francesca's hand when she was getting into the car. After she got in, he got in himself. They set close together on the way home and before they knew it they drove right up to 'the Connection of life'. From right in front of the building Ben could see his apartment on the lowest floor. However he had promised to bring his date back home first.

A doorman he didn't know by name held open the door for them. Arm in arm they walked towards the elevators. Once inside they moved up to the highest floor. Ben never had any reason to come up this high before. There was not much more than the Penthouse on the floor where they got out. When they did they stood in front of the door of Francesca. On the other side Ben could hear a dog jumping up and down, sounding very excited to welcome Francesca back in her own apartment. As she stuck her key in the door Ben opened his mouth. "So, I guess this is where I drop you off..." He had decided even in the beginning of the evening he wouldn't pull a hit and run. He had done one night stands and he had become sick of one night stands. In addition to that he had enjoyed his night and his company so much that he wanted to get to know her better.

"I hope we can meet each other again. I don't want to push my luck, but would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow night?" He sincerely hoped for a yes. It had been a while since he had dated anyone, but in order to get back into it, he would love to start with her.

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Madison was glad Seth had just dropped the subject that brought about the awkwardness within the room. She still couldn't seem to contemplate why she thought to do something like that to someone she had just met. For all she knew he could have some sort of diseases that could be transported through saliva. Though of course she had a feeling he hadn't any one of them, but there was still that possibility. She didn't really know much of anything about this man.

She sighed as she set her empty plate down on the table and made her way back over to her bookshelves and continued unpacking all of her books and nick-nacs that she found. Though when he mentioned her notebook, she flipped through it a bit, suddenly remembering that she was using it to try writing her first book. A while ago she found herself having writer's block so she quit writing it and never seemed to go back to it. She decided to keep it towards the front of the book shelf, thinking that maybe she would return to it some day.

"Oh, um, yeah. I started writing this story a couple years ago and ended up getting writer's block. Hadn't gone back to it since then. Though I am an advice columnist for the newspaper," she answered as she stood to her feet with an ashtray she found hidden in the bottom on one of her boxes and set it down on the coffee table.

At that moment she realized that she had completely ignored his question about her parents and decided to go ahead and answer that one too. "Well," she started as she walked over towards her purse and began digging through it for her cigarettes and pulled one out of her pack and lit it up. "They just got tired of my partying and coming home at late hours of the night all the time without giving them any idea of where I was, who I was with, ya know, the normal things parents like knowing. But I didn't see any point in it when they hardly showed any interest in me anyway. It's just a long story," she answered as she sat down on the couch with a sigh and took a drag from her cigarette.

"Oh, um, sorry I didn't ask this before. You don't mind me smoking around you, do you?" she questioned, feeling bad. Usually she had more sense than this. Madison just had a lot on her mind, maybe that's all it was.

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It would have been easy for Francesca to blame the alcohol for her behavior in the car on the way back home, but in actuality she wanted to sit with her legs pressed against Bens, and her head resting upon his shoulder on the ride back to their building

....

"So, I guess this is where I drop you off.." Ben said as Francesca let go of his arm and began to twist her key in her door.
"It is." was all she'd manage to get out before the door opened and her90lb pup Roxie came rushing out the towards her, however as soon as the dog spotted Ben it began sniffing around his feet in a circle - causing Francesca to laugh softly.
"Sorry about that, I guess she likes you too."

As she smiled towards Ben and leaned her head on the door jam she wasn't quite sure what to expect. A lot of men would attempt to talk their way into her place and subsequently her pants. However, much to her appreciation, Ben didn't try his hand at some sleazy come on and he surely wasn't trying to insert himself into her place, instead he was being the gentleman at the end of their evening that he was at the start.
"I hope we can meet each other again. I don't want to push my luck, but would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow night?"


Francesca's face lit up at the suggestion, but her expression quickly changed to one of apprehension. "No!" she yelled out, as soon as she saw Roxie Laying in the middle of the elevator. Thankfully she got there in time to stop the elevator doors from closing and sending her dog on a little journey. After pulling Roxie out she'd hold onto her collar and walk the dog back inside the Condo before addressing Ben again.
"Sorry about that, she can be a bit mischievous at times, a pouco perturbador* as my mother would say. I meant to respond with a yes, I'd love to."
Francesca would walk slightly out of the door opening until she was close enough to Ben to lean in and kiss him on the cheek. "It's been a pleasure." she'd whisper in his ear, before stepping back into her apartment - holding her finger up to Ben as if to say "hold on." Several seconds later she'd come back to the door with a piece of paper that had two sets of numbers written down on it. "My home and my cell." she began with a smile as she placed the piece of paper in Ben's pants pocket. "I tend to get calls to my cell quicker, but either will do. I'm free all day tomorrow, so whatever time is best for you will be just fine with me."

It had been longer than Francesca cared to count since she last went on a real dinner date with someone, and it was certainly the first time in her adult life someone showed interested in her solely for who she was as a person, and not for what family she belonged to or what parties she could get into. The idea of him eventually learning about her family caused a gulp of apprehension to form in her throat, but it quickly faded, and Francesca would stand smiling in the doorway until Ben stepped onto the elevator, and once the doors on it shut she'd step back into her condo and shut her own door.





There were a myriad of missed texts from Damian on her phone, questioning her about who she was with, where she was, and so on, however instead of responding a tipsy Francesca made her way into her room where she'd drop her phone on the nightstand, take everything but her undergarments off, and flounce down on her bed.
Roxie quickly followed her into the room and began to paw at the side of the bed for permission to come up, which Francesca naturally gave to her. Too lazy to get under the comforter she'd pull a thin blanket at the end up the bed up and over her body, and within a few minutes she was completely out.



.....



Like clockwork Francesca always walked Roxie at 9am and then fed the pup shortly after, so when she woke up to see 11:47 on the clock she instantly shot up - quickly spotting a dejected Roxie laying by her open bedroom door.
"Oh I'm sorry I'm sorry, gosh - I really overslept!"
Francesca quickly grabbed a red silk robe, wrapped it around her frame, and headed out into the living room. She'd slip into a pair of black flip flops, run her fingers through her hair a few times, and then attach Roxie's leash to her collar before heading out the front door.


Several minutes later the pair meandered back into the Condo and Francesca would promptly feed her pup before slowly making her way to the master bedroom's bathroom, where she'd stare at herself in the mirror and sigh. Brushing her teeth and following that with a swig of mouthwash usually came after the shower, but this morning she felt the need to get the lingering traces of alcohol out of her mouth before jumping into a nice warm shower.
Her phone went off a couple times while she was bathing, and as much as she rather lay back down and ignore the blinking light she knew she had to check and see who called - hoping it was perhaps Ben. Instead the dampened brunette found two missed calls from two club managers, and as she listened to their messages Francesca sighed and rolled her eyes. As expected they were inviting her to what sounded like the a-typical bash, something she might have been more excited about if it was a year ago and she didn't have quite the headache. Besides, she was much more focused on her upcoming date with Ben. It was now only a little past noon but she couldn't help but think about her dinner date as she slowly got dressed in a burgundy short-suit with matching platform flip flops. Once dressed Francesca would put her damp hair up in messy bun, pet Roxie on the head, and then head out the door once again with her phone and keys in hand.

It only took a few minutes to make her way own to the building's restaurant, and once inside Francesca would buy a large cup of black coffee to wake herself up and two blueberry muffins to fill her stomach. Even though the place was largely empty she took her order to a table in the back of the room beside the window and sat down away from the entrance.






*Pouco perturbador means "little troublemaker" =)

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Character Portrait: Francesca Cavalcanti Character Portrait: Benjamin Masters Character Portrait: Seth Lucas Character Portrait: Madison Jameson
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Seth listened to Madison telling about her unfinished book and her job as an advice columnist. While listening he grabbed a few more books out of the box and put them on the shelf. He didn't put them in any particular order, he thought she would probably do that on her own later on. At least it's in the right place... She continued with answering his earlier question. It sounded like Madison and her parents were a bad match. If it would have been a relationship it would have been long over, so Madison and her parents splitting up sounded like an excellent choice. All three were probably better off like this.

Seth had never been big on family, so he was happy to meet a like-minded person. A tradition of obligations and sorrow inherited at birth, a journey leading nowhere. "Sounds like the relationship with your parents would be enough to write a trilogy about." As an advice columnist she is probably able to use a lot of her personal life in her columns. She sat down on the couch and lit up a cigarette. "Oh, um, sorry I didn't ask this before. You don't mind me smoking around you, do you?" Seth sat down next to her and lit one of his own. "Not a problem at all." He took a drag and enjoyed the little break. While smoking he simultaneously ate another piece of pizza. Before he started unpacking a new box he wiped his mouth with the napkin provided by the pizza delivery man.

The next box had a number of little statues and photo frames. They all seemed to be display items, so he just took the box and placed stuff around the room. The frames looked very nice on the mantel piece. Most of them depicted Madison at different ages. One looked like a 10 year old Madison in a leotard, while another showed a 16 year old Madison with a big smile on her face. "Some nice childhood pictures over here," he said holding the one of the 10 year old, "tell me, gymnast or dancer?" Whatever he answer, both were correct in his opinion. They provided a certain level of flexibility he surely appreciated.

He thought back to her job. "So...," he started slowly, "if you would get a letter asking for advise with this situation." The smile on his lips grew as he started his story. "Dear Maddie, I have a problem I could really use your advise on. I've met this girl only a few hours ago, and we seem to click. I want to ask her out on a date, but I really don't know how, her looks are a bit intimidating as well." He read it from the pretend letter he was holding in his hand. "Thank you for the advice. PS: I would like to kiss her at the end of the night, but don't feel much for the possible slap that follows." He put the pretend letter back in the pretend envelope. "Wow, you get to deal with some nut cases, don't you?"






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As the door opened a giant dog came storming out. Now Ben was not particularly scared of dogs, he even used to have one when he was younger. But this elephant of a dog was a bit more than he was used to. Thank goodness the dog seemed to like him, sniffing frantically around his feet. Before Ben actually got his first dog he had been scared of them. Up to a point where he was even bitten by this little monster of a creature. His grandfather than told him that all the dog wanted to do was to smell his hands and that the dog only bit him since Ben wouldn't let him smell his hands. Being reminded of that scary feeling now, Ben held his hands out for her dog to sniff them. He felt the wet nose of the dog on his hand not a second later. Apparently approving the dog let go and left him alone.

Ben's hands were actually a bit shaky after asking Francesca on a date for the very next evening. This evening had been a success for him and it really looked like she was having fun as well. In order not to let her show his shaking hands he put them in his pockets and hoped for the answer he'd been waiting for. When he heard the resounding "No!" his heart sank so far he was about to shit it out. Although he had given the 'no' option about a 30% chance, he had not expected her to shout it out quite like that. As his jaw dropped Francesca sprinted towards to elevator.

Ben was a bit confused, but after a few seconds he understood what was going on. Francesca looked a bit fuzzed getting the dog back in the apartment as soon she could, but after a short while she appeared back at the front door of her apartment apologizing for the dog's behaviour. Together with the unneeded apology came the answer he had been waiting for. "I meant to respond with a yes, I'd love to." It was about all he could do to not start floating in the air and clicking his heels together. A good thing however, that he didn't. Francesca leaned in and kissed him softly on the cheek and whispered in his ear. It was the most sensual thing she could have done at the moment. It filled him up with an energy, adrenaline rush, that he couldn't seem to get rid off.

For a moment Francesca went inside. Ben used the time to jump up and down a few times trying to shake the energy off of him. When she came back he tried to act like he hadn't and she handed him a piece of paper. Must be a successful evening, one girl actually gave me two phone numbers... "My home and my cell." Ben grabbed the piece of paper and put it in his back pocket. "You can expect a call tomorrow. I'll confirm with you tomorrow, but pick you up at 7?" Not turning his back towards Francesca he walked backwards to the elevator and got in. With a sheepish smile he gave a slight wave just before the doors closed. After they did he leaned back into the wall and waited till the doors opened on the right floor.

Quite a few floors down the doors opened again. Moving out he turned to the left and walked up to his apartment. He decided to leave the mess in the kitchen for what it was and go to bed. He had to get up early for his shift the next morning, no matter how late it was now. He sat his alarm, undressed and crept beneath the warm sheets. With a big smile on his face he fell asleep.

...

It only seemed minutes later when the alarm started to bug Ben. He was ever so tempted to press the snooze button, but he knew it would mean certain death if he did. He grunted while getting up although there was no one around to hear it. A smile was brought to his face when he thought about the previous night and tonight's date. He quickly jumped under a cold shower in order to try and wake up. When he got out he got dressed in some easy clothes. He smelled the coffee from the machine that went on by itself. A little preparation goes a very long way... He grabbed a to go mug from the cupboard and filled it with coffee. In the corner of the room he also found his already prepared bag with working clothes and so he jumped out of the door not even 10 minutes after waking up.

...

The morning rush was a busy one today. And although most chefs are known for having a bit of a temper, he was the sunshine of the kitchen that morning. Around 11 he turned to one of the kitchen assistants. "Hey Detlev, aren't you from the Ukraine?" Upon his positive answer Ben continued: "Do you perhaps know anyone from Moldavia? Preferably female and preferably old." The request for old and female showed to be an awkward request. Seeing the look on Detlev's face pushed Ben to explain it a bit more. After explaining, the kitchen assistant wrote down an address for Ben to visit.

With the continues happy look on his face he finished his shift without any hassles. When his shift was finally over he handed everything to the head chef for the dinner shift. He stuffed his work clothes in his locker fr the next day. Coming outside he looked at the address that was given to him, he noticed the Harlem part and prepared for the journey ahead. First things first he called Francesca to confirm for tonight. He called her cell phone number which was already stored in his. He asked her if she would still be available at 7. He would pick her up at her door.

After the conversation he stepped into the metro towards Harlem. It took him about an hour to find the place, but when he was there he was welcomed like family. The old lady grabbed him by the cheeks and gave a big kiss on either side. Apparently her son had already told her that he was coming and what he was coming for. At least that's what he seemed to gather from her very basic English. Over the net hour she showed him how to make the dish and even gave him the Woodpile cake, or Guguta's hat as she called it, they made together. With another two kisses, and with a baking tray in his hands, he left the cosy apartment that reminded him of his grandmothers room. On his way home he dropped off the Guguta's hat with his friend, who would be the chef for the dinner tonight. His friend was clever enough to demand a slice for himself as being the chef to serve it. "That's fine Steve, as long as you take off your slice after you take off ours. If you like it, I'll make you five of these cakes so you can use it as your next Saturday night dessert special." The offer interested Steve as made apparent by his face. "Oh and of course, I'll only do it if our dinner for tonight is absolutely perfect." With a wave he left his friends kitchen. "Oh and thanks for the awesome wine paring for tonight."

It took another half hour to get home, which made it 6 already. He jumped in the shower to wash off the smells of the day. He dressed up nicely, although he was not wearing the glasses Francesca had given him the day before. He stood in front of Francesca's door about two minutes early, but he didn't knock until it was 7 on the dot. He was curious to see what drop dead gorgeous dress Francesca would be wearing tonight.

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It would've been too much to ask for her phone not to go off as she ate, but much to her surprise it wasn't some club promoter, it actually was an old dancing buddy from HS and Francesca would jump in her seat a bit as she answered the phone.
"Gina? It's been a while, how are you?" she'd ask cheerfully, and the two women would quickly begin to catch up with one another. Her former classmate stuck with dancing all these years and had been traveling with a well known company all over the globe, making communication between the two equally busy friends hard.

"It's been wonderful catching up with you Francesca, it really has. We'll be in the city for a month or so, I'd love to meet up sometime. Matter og fact, I was heading to the studio now to stretch and practice some - you should join me!"

If Francesca was honest with herself the idea of going to a dance studio with an old dancing buddy was exciting, but she couldn't quite shake the anxious feeling the idea gave her.
"Uh, no no that's okay, I don't want to get in the way of your practice. We can always hang out tomorrow...since I have plans tonight."
"Oh come on! I promise, I won't make you dance...well, not too much anyways!"
It would take Gina a few minutes of convincing to get Francesca to agree to meet her, and after the two hung up Francesca would sigh.
"Why am I nervous? It's just a dance studio, gees..." she thought to herself as she downed the last bit of her Coffee.
She'd spend a few minutes aimlessly staring out the restaurant window before eventually making her way back up to her room.

----

"Hey, I have an idea, would you like to come see Gina with mommy?" Francesca asked aloud in her room as she changed into matching sparkle print low rise work-out pants and halter top and a pair of black sneakers.
Her bubbly pup Roxie responded with a wagging tail and she'd take a moment to rub her favorite pal's belly before bending over to pull her long hair into a high ponytail.

"Come on girl, lets get your leash"
It took Francesca under a minute to find the leash and throw some stuff into an over-sized leather bag, and after grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge she was out the front door.


The taxi ride to the dance studio was relatively short, and as soon Francesca stepped out her friend would run over and give her a warm hug.
"Oh my, you brought this cute one here! I could just eat her up."
Gina lavished Roxie with attention for a brief moment before leading them both inside the studio.

The girls made their way to an empty practice room in the back, and as soon as they closed the glass door Francesca would take Roxie off her leash.

"You look great, but lets see how out of shape you are!" Gina teased, before turning the radio on.


The two stretched for about fifteen minutes before Gina turned the radio off, put in her own CD, and began to practice her routine.
Francesca was impressed and excited at the same time as she watched her friend dance. There was no denying she had missed dancing, and after watching Gina for nearly half an hour she'd reluctantly let her friend teach her part of the routine.
Within only a few minutes her nerves were out the window and Francesca was easily picking up the moves - better than Gina had expected, and the two would practice together for a few hours before finally calling it quits.


"You were great! Have you started performing again?" Gina asked as the two sat on a bench outside.
"Oh please, not even. I haven't danced in forever, and I couldn't find the time even if I wanted to."
"I'm not bullshitting you girl, you barely missed a step...you should start dancing again."

The two went back and forth for a few minutes on the subject before Francesca stood up to hail a cab.

"As much as I'd love to continue this silly conversation about me dancing I need to head home. I want to get a few hours of r&r in before my dinner date"
"Oh a date? Tell me more, how long have you two been dating? How cute is he? And if he's really hot does he have a twin brother that's single?"
As a cab came to a stop in front of her Francesca would laugh at the questions being thrown out by her friend.
"Seriously? Well to answer all of that - no, not long at all, he's hot, and no - I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a twin brother, but if I find out he does I'll be sure to let you know."


-----


After arriving back home Francesca would fill up Roxie's food bowl before stripping out of her clothes and stepping into a warm shower.
By the time she walked out of the bathroom in her red silk robe and Adventure Time sippers it was nearly 5pm.

Ben would call and double check that she'd be ready at 7pm and she reassured him that she would before hanging up and pouring herself a cocktail.

After drying her hair, rolling the ends of it up into rollers, and doing her eye-makeup Francesca would flounce down on her couch and turn on the TV. She already knew what outfit she was going to wear and figured she'd relax or a while, but the more comfortable she got on her couch the more drowsy she became, and within several minutes Francesca would doze off.


Roxie would eventually wake Francesca up by barking, and after a few seconds of trying to quiet the dog Francesca would hear a knock at the door.

"Oh no!" she whispered as her gaze shifted from the door to the wall clock, which read 7:04pm.
Knowing it was probably Ben on the other side of the door she'd pop up from the couch and run over to open it.

"Hey, please, come in."
Sorry was written all over Francesca's face as she stepped out of the way and invited Ben into the penthouse, but after closing the door she couldn't help but vocalize it.
"I am so sorry, I'm usually not this bad with my timing - I promise. Please take a seat, watch some TV, I'll be out in ten minutes flat!"
Francesca would turn and jog into her bedroom, and as soon as the door shut she'd drop her robe and run over to her bed where her red lace cocktail dress was already laid out.
In record time she'd slip into the fitted mini dress and matching lace heels, and it would take her only a few minutes to put a coat of lipstick on, remove her rollers, and brush her curls out.

"Okay, deep breath!" Francesca said to herself as she casually put her phone and a few other items in a small red clutch purse. She'd stand on the other side of her bedroom door for a few moments before opening the door.

She'd slowly make her way over towards the couch and again apologize for making Ben wait - explaining that she had dozed off by accident.
"You clean up pretty well by the way." she'd say with a smile before grabbing the remote and turning the television off.
Francesca would check and make sure Roxie's water was topped off before walking towards the door and opening it up."Lead the way, handsome."
She would wait for Ben to walk out before locking then closing her door and following him towards the elevator.

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He knocked on the door gently. As he was waiting he was bouncing on the balls of his feet. The more times he went up and down the more nervous he got. Ben put his head closer to the door, but as he listened he could not hear a sound on the other side of the door. If he would lean in any closer it would be considered spying, so instead Ben knocked again.

Again he waited, although a bit more impatient than after the first knock. He checked the time on his phone to make sure he wasn’t early. I did say I would pick her up at 7, right? He was getting very confused. He could not convince himself that he didn’t make a mistake; it must have been his error.

Trying one last time he knocked again, a bit louder than the times he knocked before. If I knock any louder my hand will be through the door… He was beginning to feel stalk-ish, almost like a door-to-door salesman. But after a few seconds he could hear the dog barking on the other side of the door. Well, at least someone’s home… Only a few seconds later Ben heard the thumping of light feet and the door opened. In a second Ben understood that she must have been sleeping. The rollers were still in her hair and her eyes were still small after waking up so suddenly. ”Hey, please, come in,” she said with an apologetic smile on her face. As she closed the door behind him she continued with an unnecessary apology. ”Don’t worry about it. I understand, after all afternoon naps are awesome.”

He saw her walking off to, what he assumed was, the bedroom. She had told him to sit and maybe watch some TV, but he did not feel comfortable enough yet. Somehow he always needed some time to get used to a place and especially a place as nice as this one. He walked over to the window where he looked over the city and the park. He was amazed by the view, even more so since he was used to his own, quite limited, view. Francesca’s dog came to stand next to him and Ben’s hand automatically came to pet the dog’s head.

The sun was setting and Ben saw the street lights pop on. As he turned around he took in the rest of the apartment. He was surprised at how much bigger it was than his own. He always knew there were better apartments in the building, but this was something else. He figured the nightclub promoter’s business was well off. ”Your place looks amazing!” he said loudly. It appeared she was not yet ready as no response came from her room. Even though he had been a bit impatient when he was standing outside, now knowing that she was here and almost ready he felt more at ease. He finally took the seat she had offered when he came in. His eyes were on the TV, but nothing displayed actually came through to him. Like a child waiting for a new toy he was sitting on the edge of his seat. He was excited about the dinner, the food of course, but the company much more than that.

When the door to the bedroom opened again his date once again looked amazing. She walked towards the couch with the same apologetic smile on her face as when she opened the door before. She apologized again and complimented his clothes. Ben didn't really know what to say to her. He knew what he wanted to say, but it felt like someone had taken his voice away. His mouth was open but there was no sound coming out. Afraid he looked stupid he quickly closed it and stumbled. ”You look stunning...” Doing his best to find his vocal abilities he found himself able to continue. ”Are you all ready to go?” She turned off the TV, took care of the dogs supplies for the evening and replied:”Lead the way, handsome.”

Normally he would let the lady go first, but he realized she would have to lock her door, so he walked out in front of her. As he heard the door being locked he pressed the button to ask for the elevator to come up. When it arrived Ben offered Francesca to go in first. As the elevator was going down he asked Francesca: ”So, what's the name of your dog?” Coming to the ground floor the doors opened again and the dating parties both stepped out. Coming out he asked: ”Do you mind if we walk to the restaurant? It's only about 15 minutes from here.” Ben was a big fan of walking through the city, at home there was never that much to see, but here there was a possible spectacle around every corner. Even after being here for a few years it never seized to amaze him.

He had expected to feel more nervous than he was at the moment. Yesterday had been a lot of fun, but there had been enough alcohol in his body to drown out the nerves. As they were walking he did notice that they stood out from the rest of the crowd. People looked their way and commented to the people they were walking with. Now, he wasn't very unsure of his own looks and clothes, he did think that most of the looks were concentrated on his date for the night. ”So how was your day? I'll be honest, when I woke up it felt like my whole body had dry-mouth.”The air was still warm in the early evening, although it would get colder soon. They should definitely be in the restaurant before that would happen, but as luck and a bit of planning would have it the restaurant was only two blocks away.

As they arrived he saw a girl standing in the door opening. In fact it was one of his friends, Sandy was the hostess of the restaurant. Seeing what he was wearing and the person he was with her eyes widened. Normally she wasn't used to seeing him in something like this, it was quite different from his usual jeans and band shirts. With a voice of approval she spoke: ”Good evening Mr. Masters.” In his mind he could here her continue looking goohood... She walked out in front of them to the table they would have tonight. The round table was neatly set and the two chairs were standing next to each other rather than on opposite sides of the table. Sandy stood next to the able and let Francesca pass her to her seat. When Francesca passed she was no longer able to see Sandy's face, which Sandy cleverly used. She opened her eyes wide and hinted with her head and hands that Ben should help Francesca with her seat, as if she was the older sister teaching him manners.

Stumbling half over his feet he quickly manoeuvred himself behind Francesca's chair and pulled it back. As she sat down he slowly moved it forward. Looking at Sandy for some sign of approval he received a small thumbs up. Ben sat down himself and Sandy continued: ”Your waiter will be with you shortly.” As she walked away Ben turned towards Francesca. ”Are you comfortable? Oh, before I forget, are you perhaps allergic to anything?” He wanted her to be comfortable, but he had to admit to himself that she had impressed him yesterday. The club had been a great idea, and the way she handled herself showed she was good at what she did. He felt the pressure to equally impress her and since food was his business, dinner was the best choice. ”What would you like to drink?”

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Francesca would smile as Ben invited her to step on the elevator first. "So, what's the name of your dog?" he'd ask as they made their way down to the ground floor.
"Roxie. I got her from a friend, and we were watching that play Chicago when I first met her. So I guess my sweetheart is named after a gorgeous murderess." Francesca giggled a bit before stepping out into the main lobby and reassuring Ben that she had no issue with walking.


It was a relatively cool night in the city, and Francesca enjoyed the slight chill she got when the breeze picked up. Nevertheless she used the breeze as an excuse to hold onto Ben's arm and stay close to him as they walked the streets. She felt at ease with him, almost as if the two had known each other for a long time, and as they walked together she found herself smiling nearly the entire time.

"So how was your day? I'll be honest, when I woke up it felt like my whole body had dry-mouth."
Francesca snickered a bit at his comment before filling him in on her meet and greet with her old dance buddy.
"It was honestly pretty great to be dancing with her again, it's been ages since I've danced like that, and even longer since I've done so in a studio or on a stage of some sort."
The longing in her voice was noticeable, even to her, so before she brought herself, or the mood, down anymore she'd quickly change the subject, and point to an accident up the street.
"Wow, how does a taxi run over a bike rack like that? He must have been wasted out of his mind!"






When they finally arrived at the restaurant they were greeted by a friendly hostess who would quickly lead the pair to their table.
Francesca went to pull out her chair but before she could Ben would suddenly make his way around to her side of the table and pull the chair out for her - which she'd thank him for with a soft smile before taking a seat.

"Are you comfortable? Oh, before I forget, are you perhaps allergic to anything?" Ben asked, after the hostess left their table.
"Oh I'm very comfortable, this place is really nice. In terms of allergies I'm only allergic to flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and water, so as long as the food doesn't have any of that in it I'm fine!"
Francesca would hold a rather serious expression on her face for a few seconds before laughing.
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding! I've yet to have an allergic reaction to any type of food, and I've eaten quite a bit in my life."


She enjoyed how much Ben was going out of his way to make her comfortable. Francesca was use to being asked out by men who were more into themselves then her, or who took little to no interest in how comfortable she was on a date, so it was a much welcomed change to be sitting across from someone who seemed to genuinely care
"What would you like to drink?"
"Heineken on tap would be lovely."

Francesca pulled her phone out from her bag and pointed it towards Ben as she opened her camera app up.
"Smile!"
She'd wait a few seconds before snapping the picture and then opening up instagram. It had been a while since she posted anything on her page, but Ben looked quite handsome with the classy restaurant decor as a backdrop, and her inner amateur photographer couldn't resist.
"Sorry, I couldn't help it." she teased.
"So tell me, after you got that dry-mouth off of you what were you up to today?"

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Ben fell back in his chair when Francesca told him about his allergies. Shit, she won't be able to eat anything. Could she have had the drinks yesterday if she was allergic to water? The disappointment on his face was clearly seen by her as she quickly said: "I'm kidding, I'm kidding! I've yet to have an allergic reaction to any type of food, and I've eaten quite a bit in my life." Ben let out a sigh of relief when he heard that. He turned to Sandy who was looking their way from her hostess desk. He gave a small sign that there were no allergies, and the starter could come through.

Her decision of drink was a very pleasant one. He hated always being the one to order Heineken when no one else did. "Oh nice, I will take one of those as well." After his response he saw her phone in the air giving of a flash of light. "Ah, you might wanna check the picture before posting it. I think there are 10 pictures in total in this world where my eyes are not closed." After that the waiter stopped by their table, a guy Ben had not seen before. "Ah, hi, can we have two Heineken from the tap, Heineken Ice Cold if you have it." The waiter nodded and went on his way again.

"So tell me, after you got that dry-mouth off of you what were you up to today?" He thought about his not very exciting day. In fact the nice thing about today was his date right now. "Well, I'm afraid it wasn't nearly as exciting as yours. And I think my dry-mouth will come off when that beer is coming our way." He shot up a look to see if the waiter was on his way, but so far no luck. "I left the house at 7 to get to my job. Then cracked a whole lot of eggs and turned them into perfectly prepared treasures that turned grumpy mornings into amazing ones. Lunch shift was a bit dull, but t went by quick enough. After that I went home to get ready to meet you." He hoped she didn't think there was something wrong with him, it sounded like all he ever does is work.

A moment later Ben saw the waiter coming out of the kitchen with two plates in his hand. Like a ballerina he went passed and in between the other tables to come to theirs. In the proper manner he served Francesca before he did Ben. "Would you like to try the wine pairing, or would you like me to bring over your beers?" Ben had thought about the wine pairing before, but when Francesca suggested the beer, he had been quite excited about it. "If you could bring over the beer, that would be awesome, thanks." He looked as the waiter went to the other side of the room and quickly came back with two glasses. Ben thanked him again and then pointed his eyes towards the starter. "Oh wow, the chestnut risotto looks awesome. Enjoy!"

Ben grabbed the spoon that was provided for the dish and was ready to attack. Then he suddenly remembered his manners. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I never do it, so I forgot. Do you want to pray before we start eating?" He waited for her to answer before he asked another question. "In any case I think the evening deserves a toast." He raised his glass. "Do you want to do the honours?"

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Francesca listened as Ben told her about his slow day, and even giggled a bit when he mentioned how he "-cracked a whole lot of eggs and turned them into perfectly prepared treasures"
"You sure do spend a lot of time in the kitchen don't you?" she light-heartedly inquired. "Makes me wonder, when do you get the time to practice with that band of yours?"

Before he could answer the waiter with their drinks and appetizers appeared at their table. "Would you like to try the wine pairing, or would you like me to bring over your beers?" he'd ask, and much to Francesca's approval Ben would decline the offer and instead insist on their beers.
"My kind of date!"
Francesca was always more of a beer girl, even though her business partners and/or suitors always seemed to try and woo her with wine or champagne.

"Oh wow, the chestnut risotto looks awesome. Enjoy!"
Both of them apparently had the same idea to grab their utensils and dig in, but Ben would stop himself, and subsequently Francesca, to speak up.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I never do it, so I forgot. Do you want to pray before we start eating?"
Francesca giggled and shook her head before Ben would suggest a toast.
"Well I'm not one for prayers over food, but I can manage a toast for sure."
She'd smile while grabbing her glass of beer, and after lifting the glass up into the air she'd scoot to the edge of her seat.
"To a sweet, generous, and very sexy date.....but enough about me!"
Francesca giggled at her own corny joke before dramatically clearing her throat and starting over.
"What I meant to say is here's to a wonderful time, over wonderful food, with my own superhero date....who cleans up pretty nice, I must say."
Francesca would lean in to clink her glass with Ben's, and after taking a long sip she'd put the beverage down and scoot back into her seat once again.
"So tell me, how did you know I totally adore risotto?"
She picked up her fork and stirred the creamy rice dish around a bit before teasing Ben some more.
"I'm starting to believe you really are some mind-reading superhero! Are there some tights and a cape underneath your Clark Kent disguise tonight?"